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Canada concerned about the risk of Salmonella illness from frozen raw breaded chicken products

Staff Writer |
Most frozen breaded chicken products available for sale in grocery stores in Canada contain raw chicken that can cause Salmonella illness and therefore pose an increased health risk to Canadians who handle, prepare or consume them.

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Such products include chicken nuggets, chicken strips, chicken burgers, popcorn chicken and chicken fries. Canadians need to be aware that even though these products may appear to be cooked, they are not. They need to be handled carefully and cooked properly to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) before they are safe to eat.

Over the past 16 months, federal, provincial and territorial public health partners have identified hundreds of laboratory-confirmed human illnesses associated with frozen raw breaded chicken products contaminated with Salmonella, due at least in part to inadequate cooking or handling. And for every laboratory-confirmed illness reported, we know that there are dozens more unreported illnesses in Canada.

During this same period, there have also been food recall warnings issued for seven different frozen raw breaded chicken products.

Despite these warnings and efforts to educate the public on safe food-handling practices, we continue to see hundreds of Salmonella illnesses among Canadians of all ages because of consumption of or exposure to improperly cooked frozen raw breaded chicken products.

Most people who become ill from Salmonella infection will recover within a week. However, for some people, infection can lead to more severe illness, hospitalization, and in rare cases, even death.

The Government of Canada is working with the food manufacturing industry and food retailers to reduce Salmonella in frozen raw breaded chicken products produced on or after April 1, 2019, to below detectable amounts, thereby reducing the risk of illness for everyone who handles or consumes these types of products.

However, until April 1, 2019, and likely for up to a year after this date, frozen raw breaded chicken products containing Salmonella will continue to be in the marketplace and in freezers across the country.


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