At least seven people from four Canadian provinces have been sickened with Salmonella Enteritidis, which The Public Health Agency of Canada says frozen raw breaded chicken products are the source of the infections.

Salmonella bacteria (red)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Salmonella bacteria (red)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Cases have been reported from British Columbia (1), Alberta (4), Ontario (1) and New Brunswick (1). Two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Health officials note that while frozen raw breaded chicken products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, they contain raw chicken 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.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.