October 9th, 2013
07:32 AM ET

Shutdown Complicates Probe into Widespread Salmonella Outbreak

A California poultry producer announced Monday that it is working with the federal health officials after an estimated 278 illnesses were reported in 18 states.

Raw chicken products from Foster Farms plants have been identified as the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg. Illnesses were linked to the facility through investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials. The outbreak is continuing and no recall has been issued.

“Complicating the investigation into this outbreak is the government shutdown,” reports CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. “The CDC has furloughed many of its scientists who track food-borne pathogens. Some have since been brought back in but there was a delay in the exchange of information about the outbreak.”

But as there has been no recall, the poultry in question doesn't have to be thrown away.

"The USDA says you just need to prepare it properly, making sure you cook it thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, which should be checked with a food thermometer."

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been unable so far to identify the specific product or production period, but raw products from the potentially affected facilities bear one of the following numbers on the packaging: P6137, P6137A, P7632 and mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington state.


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