Florida is part of Salmonella scare blamed on furloughs - WRBL

Florida is part of Salmonella scare blamed on furloughs

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WASHINGTON, DC (WFLA) -

 

In a rush to put the brakes on a fast-moving salmonella outbreak, some furloughed food safety workers are being told to report to work. The suspect chicken comes from Foster Farms in California.

Related story: Chicken pinpointed as cause of salmonella outbreak

Since July almost 300 people have come down with the bacterial infection in 18 states, including Florida.

Senator Bill Nelson suggests the 68 percent of workers on furlough from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have detected the problem earlier. "Maybe we wouldn't have had this outbreak or they would've been able to spot it and stem it quickly before it spread to 17 other states," said Nelson.

According to reports 42 percent of those sickened by salmonella have been hospitalized. This particular strain of the bug appears to be resistant to most antibiotics. Caroline Smith DeWaal from the Center for Science in the Public Interest said, "The illnesses reported by the CDC so far, may be just the tip of the iceberg."

For its part, Foster Farms will re-examine plant procedures and is reminding people to thoroughly cook chicken to 165 degrees to kill any illness-causing bacteria. No recalls are being issued. Nobody has died.

Doctors say the salmonella outbreak continues to spread quickly. It's just one of 30 outbreaks of food borne illnesses the CDC is monitoring. Some blame the partial shutdown for hobbling the agency that protects us all.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said many of these packages could still be in consumer's freezers. If you have chicken from Foster Farms, look for these numbers on the package:

"P6137"

"P6137A"

"P7632"

Believe it or not you don't have to throw the chicken away. The USDA says you just need to prepare it properly making sure you cook it thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, which should be checked with a food thermometer.

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