(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / dbvirago)

Warning about frozen raw breaded chicken products

After linking hundreds of illnesses over the past 16 months to frozen raw breaded chicken products tainted with Salmonella, Canada’s chief medical officers have issued a joint statement.

“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,” the statement said.

They are urging Canadians to handle these products with caution and to cook them according to instructions. That would be prepared to an internal temperature of at least 74 C (165 F).

A release to the media reads, “food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled — but can still make people sick.”

The Government of Canada is working with the food manufacturing industry and retailers to reduce the risk, but said products on store shelves now may be contaminated.

“However, until April 1, 2019, and likely for up to a year afterwards, frozen raw breaded chicken products containing Salmonella will continue to be in the marketplace and in freezers across the country,” continues the release.

“For every laboratory-confirmed illness reported, we know there are dozens more unreported illnesses in Canada. During this same period [the past 16 months], there have also been food recall warnings issued for seven different frozen raw breaded chicken products,” it said.

The statement said most people who become ill with Salmonella infection will recover within a week, but others will suffer a more severe illness requiring hospitalization. In some rare cases, the contamination has been fatal.

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