Chicken product recall investigated

Twenty-five cases of salmonella illness in Canadians are under investigation as of Oct. 26 in connection with consumption of raw, uncooked chicken products, as confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Two people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported in connection with the recent outbreak of the illness. Frozen raw breaded chicken products have been identified as the source.

In the last year and a half, 474 confirmed cases of salmonella illness have been reported in outbreaks across the country, the agency said.

The latest chicken product subject to recall is Janes brand Pub Style Chicken Burgers, which was distributed nationally by Sofina Foods Inc.

The product is the 800 gram size with a best before date of March 14, 2019. Those who have purchased the product should throw it out or return it to the store.

Symptoms of salmonella illness include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and nausea. Symptoms usually last four to seven days.

Healthy people usually recover without treatment but infants, children, seniors and those with compromised immune systems can be at serious risk.

On its website, the agency makes the following recommendations regarding chicken products such as nuggets, strips and burgers:

• Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Cook all frozen raw breaded chicken products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Use a digital food thermometer to verify the temperature. 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 chicken and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.

• Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded chicken products — including chicken nuggets, strips, burgers, popcorn chicken or chicken fries — is not recommended because of the possibility of uneven heating.

• Always follow the cooking instructions on the package, including for products labelled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and 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 plates, cutting boards or utensils that have come in contact with frozen raw breaded chicken products to serve the cooked product unless they have been thoroughly washed.

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