Iowa Firm Recalls Frozen Chicken Products Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination
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From USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
06/17/10

ConAgra Foods Packaged Foods, LLC, a Council Bluffs, Iowa establishment is recalling Marie Callender's brand Cheesy Chicken and Rice frozen meals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The company is recalling all Marie Callender's brand Cheesy Chicken and Rice frozen meals in commerce, regardless of production date. These products are being recalled after the company was informed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of an investigation involving 29 people in 14 states who have been diagnosed with salmonellosis linked to Salmonella serotype Chester. Eight of the case-patients specifically reported eating this product in April and May, 2010, prior to illness onset; the last reported illness was reported on May 22.

FSIS became aware of the problem during the course of an ongoing investigation of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella serotype Chester illnesses. CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), FSIS, and state health and agriculture departments are cooperating in this ongoing investigation. The investigation is ongoing, and has not yet definitively identified a food vehicle(s). Further information will be released to the public as it becomes available.

The products subject to recall include:

  • 13-ounce packages of "Marie Callender's Cheesy Chicken & Rice White Meat Chicken and Broccoli over Rice Topped with Rich Cheddar Sauce."

Each package bears a label with establishment number "P-45" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The establishment is recalling all the products listed above which are currently in commerce. These products were distributed to retail establishments nationwide. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on FSIS' Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact ConAgra Foods at 1-866-484-9610. Media questions regarding the recall should be directed to Teresa Paulsen, Vice President of Communications and External Relations at (402) 240-5210.

While the recalled products should be safely discarded and not consumed, FSIS would also remind consumers how to safely prepare other, non-recalled frozen entrees. FSIS strongly urges consumers to always follow all cooking and preparation instructions on the label. Special attention to proper heating is important to ensure the entrees are fully cooked and all ingredients reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165F. Consumers should use a food thermometer to make sure the entrees reach at least 165F.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations 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.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at 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.


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