CANADA - The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in four provinces with cases of human illness linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.
Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken and frozen raw breaded chicken products. The risk to Canadians is low and illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing these types of food products.
This outbreak is a reminder that frozen raw breaded chicken products contain raw poultry and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products.
Follow cooking instructions carefully and verify the internal temperature after cooking, as recommended, before consuming these products. Frozen raw breaded chicken products must be cooked to a safe internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat, advises the Agency.
Currently, there are seven cases of Salmonella illness in four provinces: British Columbia (1), Alberta (4), Ontario (1) and New Brunswick (1). Two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between April and May of this year. The majority of cases (71 per cent) are male. The average age of cases is 26 years.
Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to frozen raw breaded chicken products has been identified as a source of illness. The outbreak investigation is active, and the public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves.
Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are more fragile than healthy individuals.
Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but still be able to spread the infection to others.
The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the human health investigation of this outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address the outbreak.
Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine whether the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.
The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians as new information related to this investigation becomes available.