Outbreak No. 1: From May 2012 to April 2013 the CDC reported a total of 134 individuals infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg from 13 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain was as follows: Alabama (1), Alaska (13), California (11), Hawaii (1), Idaho (2), Massachusetts (1), Montana (2), New York (1), Oregon (40), Utah (3), Virginia (1), Washington (57), and West Virginia (1). 31% of ill persons were hospitalized.
Collaborative investigative efforts of local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that Foster Farms brand chicken was the most likely source of this outbreak. Testing conducted by the Washington State Public Health Laboratories identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg in four intact samples of chicken collected from three ill persons’ homes in Washington, which were traced back to two Foster Farms slaughter establishments.
Outbreak No. 2: From February 2013 to October 2013 the CDC reported a total of 338 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg from 20 states and Puerto Rico. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (14), California (252), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Florida (4), Idaho (2), Kentucky (1), Michigan (2), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (9), New Mexico (2), Oregon (9), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (9), Utah (2), Virginia (2), Washington (15), and Wisconsin (1). 40% of ill persons have been hospitalized.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
Incidence of Salmonella: According to the CDC, for every one person who is a stool-culture confirmed positive victim of Salmonella in the United States, there a multiple of 38.5 who are also sick, but remain uncounted. (See, AC Voetsch, “FoodNet estimate of the burden of illness caused by nontyphoidal Salmonella infections in the United States,” Clinical Infectious Diseases 2004; 38 (Suppl 3): S127-34).
“We truly regret any illness associated with our products.” Ron Foster.