At least 278 cases of salmonella illness have been linked to Foster Farms chicken products from processing facilities in California, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service has announced.
The specific affected products haven’t been pinpointed, but so far federal safety officials have identified raw Foster Farms chicken products that consumers should be on the lookout for. According to the Public Safety Alert from the FSIS, raw products that came from the three facilities in question will have one of these unique identifying numbers inside of a USDA mark of inspection or somewhere on the packaging:
FSIS also says that the products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington State. The majority of the 278 reported illnesses have been in California, but NBC News reports that people in 18 states have been sickened.
The strain linked to this outbreak is known as Salmonella Heidelberg. Salmonella-related illnesses are some of the most common foodborne illnesses, but infections can be serious and even life-threatening especially, for the very young and the elderly. According to the FSIS, “the most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.”
On the legal side, lawsuits over food poisoning aren’t the easiest to win. If you get sick after consuming a certain product or dining in a certain restaurant, it is one thing to suspect that you ate something that was “bad.” Proving it is another story. It usually requires the preservation of evidence (i.e. a portion of what you ate) and authentication of the source (i.e. that it came from a certain manufacturer or restaurant). But when foodborne illness is tied to a public safety announcement (like this one) or to the recall of a certain product, it may make for easier sledding from a potential plaintiff’s perspective.