In an outbreak that begin May 2017 and continues, the Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting 30 cases of Salmonella Enteriditis between May 2017 and February 2018.
Currently, there are 30 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in four provinces: Alberta (2), Ontario (17), Quebec (7), and New Brunswick (4). Four individuals have been hospitalized. Individuals became sick between May 2017 and February 2018. The average age of cases is 32 years, with ages ranging from 1 to 73 years. The majority of cases (57%) are male.
Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to poultry, including frozen raw breaded chicken products has been identified as a source of illness. Several individuals who became ill reported consuming a mix of poultry and frozen raw breaded chicken products. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a food safety investigation into a source of the outbreak. At this time, there is no food recall warning associated with this outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing.
Frozen raw breaded chicken products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned but they contain raw chicken and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products.
The safety of these products rests with the consumer who is expected to cook it, according to the directions on the package.
In 2015, industry voluntarily developed additional labelling on frozen raw breaded chicken products that included more prominent and consistent messaging, such as “raw,” “uncooked” or “must be cooked” as well as explicit instructions not to microwave the product and they voluntarily introduced adding cooking instructions on the inner-packaging bags.
Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded poultry products including chicken nuggets, strips or burgers is not recommended because of uneven heating.
Use a digital food thermometer to verify that frozen raw breaded chicken products have reached at least 74°C (165°F). 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 poultry and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.