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More Salmonella Linked to Marie Callender’s Recall

Just how big the Marie Callender’s Cheesy Chicken & Rice frozen meal recall and the associated outbreak of Salmonella Chester are is now coming into focus.

First, a week after the June 17 recall was initiated by ConAgra, which owns the Marie Callender’s brand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a breath-taking list of retailers involved.  It includes 50 national, regional, and state-wide chains.

Those stores and others specifically named in Iowa and Nebraska were on the receiving end for shipments of 800,000 packages of the entrees that ConAgra has recalled.

Second, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta updated its report on the ongoing Salmonella Chester outbreak that is associated with the Marie Callender’s recall.

CDC added three states–Alaska, Texas, and Washington state–to the now 18-state outbreak that has resulted in infections for 37 people.  That was an increase of seven since CDC’s first report on June 18.

Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture Laboratory found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Chester in an unopened package of the recalled Cheesy Chicken & Rice single serve frozen entrees found in the refrigerator of one of the victims.

CDC, FSIS, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state health officials are now all involved in the investigation.  “Investigators are using DNA analysis of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak,” CDC’s latest update says.

So far, those infected range in age from under one year to 88 years old. The median age of the victims is 36, and 55 percent are female.  No deaths have yet been reported but at least seven case-patients are known to have required hospital care.

The onset of infections is known to have occurred between April 5 and June 3, 2010.  Because of the delay in reporting, it is possible infections have occurred since June 3.  CDC says its is usually two to three weeks between the time someone becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Both CDC and ConAgra have used the outbreak to again warn consumers that Salmonella can be present in frozen entrees, which should be cooked thoroughly for whatever time is required by the wattage on one’s microwave.

Bill Marler, the nationally known food safety lawyer, suggested on his personal blog that it would be better to put a “Skull and Cross Bones” warning on the label to tell consumers that frozen entrees “may contain harmful fecal bacteria (not limited to E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria, and Salmonella).”

Marler has already filed two lawsuits against ConAgra on behalf of Oregon victims of the outbreak.  

Major grocery retailers on the end of ConAgra’s distribution chain for the Cheesy Chicken and Rice entrees include: A&P, Albertsons, Brookshire, Chief Supermarkets, Food Lion, Fred Meyer, Frys, Giant, Hannaford, Harris Teeter, HEB, Hy-Vee, Jewel, Jungle Jim’s, King Soopers, Kroger, Marsh Supermarkets, Meijer, Mid Mountain Foods, Piggly Wiggly, Pitco Foods, Price Chooper, Publix, Ralphs, Redners Warehouse Market, Roundy’s Safeway, Schnuck’s Scolari’s Food and Drug, Shaw’s, Smart and Final, Smith’s Stater Bros Market, Stop and Shop, Supervalu, Target, United Supermarkets, Wal-Mart, Wegmans, Winco, and Winn-Dixie.

Lists with specific stores that sold the recalled Marie Callender’s Cheesy Chicken and Rice entrees in Iowa and Nebraska are available in the PDF file.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/RC_036_2010_Retail_List.pdf

___

Prior Food Safety News coverage of the Salmonella outbreak:

2nd Oregon Salmonella Victim to Sue ConAgra, Jun 25, 2010

Man to Sue ConAgra over Salmonella Infection, Jun 21, 2010

New Salmonella Outbreak Linked to ConAgra, Jun 18, 2010

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© Food Safety News
  • Cameron Aujuard, REHS, CCEO, B.Sc.

    Perhaps now us inspectors for one of the county health dept here in northern california can get the folks in oregon to cooperate with us more when it comes to making foods at home and selling this food / giving it away to the public due to the economy / econmic downturn we all face. Trying to explain to these people has been extremely hard within the past year, but they appear that no harm can come from it. I “ALWAYS” point out to them that they should visit the “Marler-Clark” legal web site and see for themselfs incidences that have occured “right here” in our community. But “of course” they don’t want to, due to the liability they would face if they injured / killed someone. This is not a joke or playing “cutesie” as these supposive “well-meaningfull-people” appear. This is something they have no idea about nor training within. If an “international company” can get it wrong, why is it hard for them to see that “they too” can get it wrong. This also is directed to those here in northern california as well, who think this is a game for the good of their cause. PLEASE, no home cooked foods and selling them to the public. PLEASE

  • Cameron Aujuard, REHS, CCEO, B.Sc.

    Perhaps now us inspectors for one of the county health dept here in northern california can get the folks in oregon to cooperate with us more when it comes to making foods at home and selling this food / giving it away to the public due to the economy / econmic downturn we all face. Trying to explain to these people has been extremely hard within the past year, but they appear that no harm can come from it. I “ALWAYS” point out to them that they should visit the “Marler-Clark” legal web site and see for themselfs incidences that have occured “right here” in our community. But “of course” they don’t want to, due to the liability they would face if they injured / killed someone. This is not a joke or playing “cutesie” as these supposive “well-meaningfull-people” appear. This is something they have no idea about nor training within. If an “international company” can get it wrong, why is it hard for them to see that “they too” can get it wrong. This also is directed to those here in northern california as well, who think this is a game for the good of their cause. PLEASE, no home cooked foods and selling them to the public. PLEASE