Cases of Salmonella illness linked to poultry, particularly frozen raw breaded chicken products, have been reported in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
There are at least 30 cases so far, yet no recall warnings of products have been issued as of this writing.
The Public Health Agency of Canada, provincial public health agencies, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada are collaborating to investigate the outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections. Investigation is ongoing and public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves.
Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken and frozen raw breaded chicken products. Illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing these types of food products.
Foods carrying Salmonella may look, smell and taste normal, so it’s important to follow these safe food handling tips for buying, chilling, thawing, cleaning, cooking, and storing poultry products:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling all types of raw poultry.
- Always follow package cooking instructions. Cook poultry to a safe internal temperature that has been checked using a digital thermometer. Raw poultry pieces should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F). Whole poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 82°C (180°F)
- Eggs and egg-based foods should be fully cooked to ensure they are safe to eat
- Keep raw poultry away from other food while shopping, storing, repackaging, cooking and serving foods
- Never rinse poultry before using it because the bacteria can spread everywhere the water splashes, creating more of a hazard
- Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat, poultry and fish
- If you have been diagnosed with a Salmonella infection or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not cook food for other people
- Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Cook all frozen breaded products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat
- Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded poultry products including chicken nuggets, strips or burgers is not recommended because of uneven heating
- Always follow package cooking instructions, including products labeled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, or Oven Ready
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling frozen raw breaded chicken products
- Use a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling frozen raw breaded chicken products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria
- Do not re-use the same plate, cutting board or utensils on breaded chicken products after they have been cooked, unless the plate has been thoroughly washed
- Use a digital food thermometer to verify that frozen raw breaded chicken products have reached at least 74°C (165°F). Insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are designed for testing whole poultry and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers