MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Three cases of salmonella poisoning, linked to Foster Farms chicken, have been confirmed in Miami-Dade County—totaling four cases in the state.
The Florida Department of Health reported Thursday, that, by way of DNA fingerprinting, three cases in Miami-Dade and one in Brevard County have been linked to Foster Farms chicken.
“Individuals who have eaten the suspect chicken and experience symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps should seek medical attention,” said Dr. Anna Marie Likos, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection Director and State Epidemiologist. “The Department will continue to monitor the situation and inform the public as new information becomes available.”
The Department is working together with the CDC and USDA in the ongoing investigation.
According to CDC, the most recent illness began two weeks ago. The majority of illnesses have been in California but people in 17 states have been infected.
Foster Farms officials say they’ve put new food safety controls in place after it found out about the illnesses.
If you fear you may have been sickened by eating the contaminated chicken, the health department advises consumers to contact their local health department and provide information about the chicken.
“The infection kind of runs its course,” Miami-Dade Epidemiologist Alvaro Mejia Echeverry told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “The immune system is able to take care of it without antibiotics. Most doctors don’t treat a salmonella infection.”
Patients are often told to load up on fluids and get plenty of rest.
The problematic plant numbers are P6137, P6137A, and P7632. It is important that consumers check packaging of chicken in order to protect themselves and their families, the department of health advises.
Salmonellosis is an infection with Salmonella, a group of bacteria (germs) that can cause illness in humans. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and often do not require treatment other than oral fluids. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids. Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads outside of the intestines.
The Department of Health advises the following is done to prevent salmonellosis:
- Cook poultry, meats (including ground meats) and eggs thoroughly. Using a meat thermometer is the only way to be sure you have cooked meat to a proper temperature.
- If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don’t hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
- Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
- Use one cutting board for raw animal proteins and another for other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, elderly, and immunocompromised.
- Do not work with raw poultry or meat and handle an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time.
- The Agriculture Department said Foster Farms has until Thursday to explain how it will fix problems that have sickened 278 people across the country.
Ron Foster, president of Foster Farms, released this statement on the company’s website:
“Food safety is – and always has been – at the very heart of our family business. On behalf of my family, I am sorry for any foodborne illness associated with Foster Farms chicken and for any concern this may have caused you. All of us at Foster Farms are continuing to work around the clock to fully address this situation and to ensure you have a safe and wholesome experience with our products.
The alert that regulators issued based on illnesses over the past seven months emphasizes the need to fully cook and properly handle raw poultry. Our facilities have always met and exceeded USDA standards. USDA continues to inspect and approve our chicken products as safe to consume.
As a further sign of our dedication, as soon as we were alerted to any concern, we brought in national food safety experts to assess our processes and have reinforced our processes with new technologies proven to be effective.
We have worked hard to earn your trust for more than 80 years, and I pledge to resolve these issues so you can continue to enjoy the very best chicken from my family to yours.”