Published Date: 2006-07-24 00:00:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Salmonellosis, frozen chicken - USA (MN)(02)
Archive Number: 20060724.2039
SALMONELLOSIS, FROZEN CHICKEN - USA (MINNESOTA) (02)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 24 Jul 2006
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: Center for Infectious Diseases Research & Policy [edited]
In the wake of 2 outbreaks of salmonellosis involving 29 cases,
Minnesota health officials are warning the public to be careful when
cooking frozen, pre- browned chicken entrees.
The outbreaks prompted state health and agriculture officials
yesterday, 20 Jul 2006, to "strongly advise" people not to cook
stuffed chicken entrees in microwave ovens because of the risk of
uneven and incomplete cooking. "The frozen chicken entrees in these
outbreaks are breaded, pre-browned and individually wrapped, so it's
likely most ill consumers mistakenly assumed they have been
precooked," said Kevin Elfering, dairy and food inspection director
in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), in a news release.
He said people probably overlooked label instructions to fully cook
the raw entrees and just heated them in a microwave.
Investigators determined that 26 illness cases from August 2005
through June 2006 were caused by the same strain of _Salmonella
enterica_ serotype Enteritidis, according to the release. The same
strain was found in product that people still had in their freezers,
said Dr. Kirk Smith, supervisor of the Foodborne Disease Unit in the
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a limited recall in
March 2006 in response to this outbreak, but cases have continued,
the MDH said. The products mostly come from 2 manufacturers, Aspen
Foods in Chicago (USDA plant P-1358) and Serenade Foods, Milford,
Indiana (USDA plant P-2375). They are sold under various brand names,
including store names.
The other 3 illness cases were _S. enterica_ serotype Typhimurium
infections, with a DNA fingerprint that matched that of product in
patients' homes, Smith said. These cases prompted the USDA to issue a
consumer advisory on 3 Jul 2006 (see link below). The products were
produced by Aspen Foods and sold under a store brand name. In this
advisory, the USDA said at least 34 recent salmonellosis cases across
the nation have been linked to undercooked chicken entrees, in
addition to the Minnesota cases.
Salmonella is sometimes found in raw chicken and is not considered an
adulterant, making thorough cooking imperative, MDH and USDA
officials said. For safety, raw poultry products must be cooked to an
internal temperature of 165 F.
Although the kinds of products tied to these outbreaks are labeled as
microwaveable, Minnesota officials warned not to cook them that way.
"Microwaves vary in strength and tend to cook products unevenly;
therefore, they are not appropriate for the primary preparation of
raw meat and poultry," the news release states.
The USDA said that if one cooks the products in a microwave oven, one
should use a food thermometer to check the temperature at multiple
points inside the product and should wait a while after cooking to
allow the heat to spread evenly throughout it. The agency said it is
requiring new labels clearly stating that frozen chicken entrees
contain raw chicken and must be fully cooked to 165 F.
Minnesota officials said they decided to warn the public of the risk
because the labeling change will take time and because the products
probably will still be marketed as "microwaveable."
[2 seotypes of _S. enterica_ have been implicated, both Enteritidis
and Typhimurium. Below is a 11 Jul 2006 update of the USDA News
Release. - Mod.LL]
Date: Tue 11 Jul 2006
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: US Department of Agriculture [edited]
The USA Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection
Service (FSIS), in collaboration with the Minnesota Departments of
Health and Agriculture, have recently investigated cases of
salmonellosis associated with a class of frozen entrees that contain
raw chicken. These frozen, breaded, boneless chicken products that
may also be stuffed or filled and appear browned are raw and must be
cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 F. Using a food
thermometer is the only sure way of knowing food has reached a high
enough temperature to destroy foodborne bacteria.
In addition to illnesses in Minnesota, there are least 34 cases of
salmonellosis across the U.S. connected to consumption of undercooked
chicken entrees. More than 25 companies produce and distribute
frozen, raw chicken entrees at the retail level. The entrees come in
many varieties, such as Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken Kiev, and
Chicken with Mushrooms and Wine Sauce.
Because these products are often filled with additional ingredients,
they may also take longer to reach a safe minimum internal
temperature of 165 F than chicken breasts that do not contain fillings.
FSIS believes that in some cases, consumers may not realize that the
breading on these products has only been pre-browned and these frozen
entrees contain raw chicken. FSIS is also concerned that consumers
may not be following cooking instructions or that because of the
variability of microwave ovens, the instructions may not yield a
product that reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 F.
FSIS is requiring new labels for these products that clearly state
that they contain raw chicken and must be fully cooked to a safe
minimum internal temperature of 165 F. In addition, FSIS is taking
steps to ensure that cooking instructions are effective,
understandable and practical. Consumers should contact the
manufacturer if following the cooking instructions is not practical
or yields a product that is unacceptable in terms of taste or texture.