The Compliments brand of chicken strips, distributed across Canada, is the subject of a food recall due to potential salmonella contamination.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said May 24 that an outbreak of human illness has been traced to the product and the distributor, Sofina Foods is recalling it. The recall affects the 907 gram package of chicken strips and breaded chicken cutlets with a best before date of Nov. 24, 2019. The chicken was sold nationally until May 1 but some consumers may still have it in the freezer.
Health Canada said there are 11 cases of illness in seven provinces related to this particular product – two of them are in British Columbia and one in Alberta.
The latest recall is part of ongoing investigations across Canada that began earlier this year into raw breaded chicken products. At least 97 people have been hospitalized in connection with the outbreak.
According to Health Canada, as of May 25 there have been 584 laboratory-confirmed cases this year of illness due to salmonella. In the West, there have been 85 cases in Alberta, 18 in Saskatchewan, 29 in Manitoba and 44 in British Columbia.
The department has issued a reminder to consumers “to take precautions and to follow safe food handling practices when handling, preparing and consuming these types of products.
“When not thoroughly cooked, frozen breaded chicken products containing raw chicken pose an increased health risk to individuals who handle, prepare or consume them. You can significantly reduce your risk of getting sick by handling and preparing these products with caution,” Health Canada said.
“Always follow cooking instructions carefully and verify the internal temperature after cooking, as recommended, before consuming these products. Frozen raw breaded chicken products and raw chicken pieces must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 74C (165F) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Whole chicken needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 82C (180F).”
Anyone who still has the Compliments brand of chicken strips and cutlets should throw them out or return them to place of purchase.
Symptoms of salmonella infection typically start from six to 72 hours after exposure, Health Canada said. They include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting.
In healthy people, symptoms often clear up within a week without need for treatment but those with other medical issues can be seriously at risk.