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Illnesses from chicken products reported

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is issuing a public health alert due to concerns that illness caused by strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with raw chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.

At this point in the investigation, the Food Safety and Inspection Service is unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific production period. Raw products from the facilities in question bear one of the establishment numbers inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package:

• P6137

• P6137A

• P7632

The products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington.

This public health alert is being issued after an estimated 278 illnesses were recently reported in 18 states, predominantly in California.

The outbreak is continuing. The investigations indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken and other brand chicken produced at Foster Farms plants are the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.

Illnesses were linked to Foster Farms brand chicken through epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations conducted by local, state and federal officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is partnering with state health departments to monitor the outbreak while the Food Safety and Inspection Service continues its investigation.

The investigation is ongoing and the Food Safety and Inspection Service is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on new evidence.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the Food Safety and Inspection Service virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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