The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a chicken recall on Saturday by the poultry giant Tyson over a cluster of salmonella illnesses.
The USDA said Tyson Foods, Inc. of Sedalia, Mo., is pulling nearly 34,000 pounds of mechanically separated chicken parts.
The mechanically separated chicken products were produced on Oct. 11, 2013. The following products are subject to recall:
40-lb. cases, containing four, 10-lb. chubs of “TYSON MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN.”
The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-13556” inside the USDA mark of inspection with case code 2843SDL1412 – 18. These products were shipped for institutional use only, nationwide. The product is not available for consumer purchase in retail stores.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) was notified of a Salmonella Heidelberg cluster of illnesses on Dec. 12, 2013. Working in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), FSIS determined that there is a link between the mechanically separated chicken products from Tyson Foods and the illness cluster in a Tennessee correctional facility. Based on epidemiological and traceback investigations, seven case-patients at the facility have been identified with illnesses, with two resulting in hospitalization. Illness onset dates range from Nov. 29, 2013 to Dec. 5, 2013. FSIS continues to work with TDH on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
The USDA said the chicken was contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg, the same strain involved in two outbreaks over the past year and a half traced to Foster Farms. State and federal officials tracked 134 illnesses in the first outbreak, which started in June 2012, and have counted 416 in the second, which started last March and could be ongoing.
Foster Farms has not recalled any product over the illnesses, and the USDA did not press for a recall. When asked why, USDA officials said they needed to be able to link an outbreak to a specific product or products. The USDA was able to trace the illnesses to three of Foster Farms central California plants, including one that the USDA shut for three days last week over roaches. The plant reopened Saturday.
The USDA is continuing to investigate the three plants for salmonella contamination.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.