Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a public health alert due to concerns that illness caused by strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with raw chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.
Although the products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington, Nevada has eight reported cases of the illness, according to the USDA.
According to the Southern Nevada Health District, there is one confirmed case in Clark County. In that case, it's believed the person did not dine on the chicken. "We don't know how the cross contamination occurred. Through our interview process, we just know that the person had the chicken in the house but they did not eat the chicken so the person interviewed had no idea how that possibly could have happened," says Linda Verchick with the Southern Nevada Health District.
The Southern Nevada Health District also reports there are six other people in Clark County who've fallen ill with the same strain of salmonella bacteria, but the district cannot link those cases to the questionable Foster Farms chicken products. That's because some some of the people who've been interviewed deny having any contact with the chicken. However, the are still a few people who have yet to be interviewed. The Southern Nevada Health District says, after interviewing those people, it's possible more cases will surface.
Las Vegas resident Don Larsen just discovered he has the potentially tainted chicken in his freezer. He tells Action News, "We bought the chicken at Walmart a week ago and we were going to rotisserie it last weekend." After reading the Action News website, he found out his chicken's packaging was labeled with one of the plant codes in question.
"If we would have eaten that last weekend and it would have been salmonella-tainted and we didn't have it up to the right temperature, [we'd] probably be [doing this interview] in the hospital," adds Larsen.
At this point in the investigation, FSIS is unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific production period.
Raw products from the facilities in question bear one of the establishment numbers inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package:
This public health alert was issued by the USDA after an estimated 278 illnesses were recently reported in 18 states, predominantly in California.
The investigations indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken and other brand chicken products at Foster Farms plants are the likely source of the Salmonella outbreak.
If you've been impacted by this outbreak, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your contact information, or call (702) 257-8411.