Canadian health officials report investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador with cases of human illness linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.
To date, there are 44 cases of Salmonella illness in four provinces: Ontario (28), Quebec (12), Nova Scotia (2), and Newfoundland and Labrador (2). Twelve people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between February 7 and May 23, 2015. Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to frozen raw breaded chicken products has emerged as a source of illness.
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.
Every year, roughly one in eight Canadians (or four million people) get sick with food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness. Many of these illnesses can be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. See a health care professional as soon as possible if you think you have a foodborne illness.
If you are preparing frozen raw breaded poultry products, take the following precautions to protect yourself and your family:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling raw poultry products.
- Use a separate plate, cutting board, and utensils when handling raw poultry products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
- Do not eat raw or undercooked poultry products. Cook all frozen, stuffed, breaded or raw poultry pieces to a minimum internal temperature of 74°C (165°F). Whole poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 82°C (180°F).
- Always follow the cooking and heating instructions on the package of any frozen raw breaded poultry product, including products labelled with phrases such as Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.
- Due to uneven heating, microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded poultry products, including chicken nuggets, strips or burgers, is not recommended.