10-10-13 State officials on lookout for potentially contaminated chicken

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West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) regulatory officers will be looking for Foster Farms poultry implicated in a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak, although the likelihood of finding any in this state is low.

“Our staff has the information federal investigators have uncovered so far,” said West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick. “It appears that this is primarily an issue in the western United States, but we want to take reasonable precautions here.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports nearly 300 people in 18 states have become ill and that signs point to raw chicken from California-based Foster Farms being the culprit. At least seven different strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been tied to the outbreak. Compounding the outbreak is the fact that many of the cases appear resistant to antibiotic treatments. About 42 percent of documented patients have been hospitalized, about double the typical Salmonella outbreak.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has not identified specific products or production periods, but says that the affected meat came from one of three plants and bears establishment numbers P6137, P6137A or P7632.

The chicken was distributed to retail outlets mainly in California, Oregon and Washington, but illnesses have been reported in 15 other states as well: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin

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