Salmonella Alert: Triple Meats Recalls Chicken Salad Products Sold At Fareway

On February 9, 2018, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) was notified by Iowa health officials about an investigation regarding Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses. The health authorities linked the outbreak with chicken salad sold in Fairway stores.

On February 14, 2018, the FSIS issued the first alert relating to potential Salmonella contamination in chicken salad sold at Fareway grocery stores.

On February 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety (USDA) and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the recall of Triple T Specialty Meats Inc., from Ackley Iowa, of approximately 20,630 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken salad products that may have been contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium.

The FSIS/USDA announcement stated that based on an epidemiological investigation, the onset of the illnesses was from January 4, 2018, to February 9, 2018. The products were sold in the grocery store in various containers from the deli department.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued their initial report on February 21, 2018.  The CDC reported that the recalled chicken salad was sold in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota from January 4, 2018, to February 9, 2018.

Epidemiological data indicated that the chicken salad produced by Triple T Specialty Meats Inc. and sold at Fareway grocery stores is the likely source of this multistate outbreak. 78% of the interviewed ill people reported eating chicken salad from Fareway.  65 people from 5 states were infected by the strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. 28 of the infected people were hospitalized, but no death reported.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of bacteria from the affected people indicated that the infected people were likely to share a common source of infection.  As can be seen in the chart, the illness started on January 8th and continued until February 10th. Some illnesses that happened after February 5 might not yet be reported.

Fareway Stopped selling the chicken salad on February 9th. However, only on February 21, 2018, did Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. recall all chicken salad produced from January 2, 2018, to February 7.

Meanwhile, four lawsuits have been filed related to the chicken salad produced by Triple Meats and Sold by Fareway were filed by Marel Clark, the Food Safety Law Firm.  All complaints are against Triple meats and Fareway.

According to the complaint, Jeff Anderson purchased Fareway Chicken Salad on February 1, 2018, from the Fareway store in Moline, Illinois. He consumed the product on February 1 -2, 2018. On Sunday, February 4, Jeff became ill with diarrhea, body aches, and chills. His symptoms became so severe that Jeff required emergency medical attention on February 6, 2018.

Derek Porter and his wife Sarah from South Dakota, purchased Fareway Chicken Salad on February 8, 2018, from the store in Harrisburg, South Dakota. On Sunday and Monday—February 11th and 12th—both Derek and Sarah became ill with diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Both continued to suffer bouts of headache, stomach cramps, and diarrhea until Derek took Sarah to the Emergency Room at about 1:30 AM on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.

James Fox resides in the city of Grimes. He purchased a Fareway Chicken Salad product on February 2, 2018, from the Fareway store located in Grimes, Iowa, and consumed it on the same day. On Sunday, February 4, 2018, Mr. Fox became ill with diarrhea, chills, and fever. His symptoms became so severe that he required emergency medical attention on February 7, 2018.   This case again demonstrates the impact of slow recall of products. By the time that the recalls were issued on February 21, 2018, most of the infections had occurred, and the product was no longer on the market.  The vast majority of the victims of this infection were already on their way to recovery.

The case also demonstrates how expensive it is for manufacturers to have a Salmonella infection in their products.

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