Deadly salmonella outbreak linked to kosher chicken

Aug 30, 2018
  • By Sabrina Cupit, WSBRadio.com

Salmonella has sickened 17 people in four states and one person has died, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eight people reportedly were so sick that they had to be hospitalized. 

>> Backyard chickens, ducks linked to salmonella outbreaks in 44 states, CDC says

The illnesses have been linked to kosher chicken, officials said. Several people reported getting sick after eating Empire-brand kosher chicken. Empire is the largest producer of kosher poultry in the United States. 

Four states have reported people who have fallen ill: New York has had 11 cases and one death; four were sickened in Pennsylvania; and Maryland and Virginia also have reported cases.

The earliest illness linked to this outbreak began Sept. 25, 2017, and the most recent case began June 4 of this year.

>> Salmonella: Signs and symptoms of infection

Salmonella illness usually begins between 12 and 72 hours after consuming the bacteria, health officials said. Symptoms can include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps and can last four to seven days.

Children younger than 5, adults older than 65 and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness when exposed to salmonella.

The CDC estimates that salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source for about 1 million of these illnesses.

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Dr. Laura Gieraltowski with the CDC said: "CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating kosher chicken products or that retailers stop selling raw kosher chicken products. Chicken including kosher chicken is safe to eat if it's handled carefully and cooked thoroughly." 

Always handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make you sick.

What is Salmonella?