NEW YORK — A multi-state salmonella outbreak linked to kosher chicken has killed a patient in New York and sickened more than a dozen others, federal officials said Wednesday.
The outbreak has sickened 17 people in New York (11), Pennsylvania (4), Maryland (1) and Virginia (1) as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eight patients have been hospitalized.
Several patients who were sickened reported having eaten Empire Kosher-brand chicken, the CDC said.
The outbreak strain was found in samples of raw chicken collected from two facilities, including one that processes Empire Kosher-brand chicken, the agency said.
Last week, a public health alert was issued for raw chicken products made by the company. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said affected products were made and sold between September 2017 and June 2018.
Illnesses linked to the contaminated chicken date back to Sept. 25, 2017, with the most recent being reported on June 4 of this year. Officials said more recent cases of salmonella still may be reported.
The patients range in age from a baby younger than 1 to a patient who is 76 years old, the CDC said.
Identifying information about the patient in New York who died has not been released.
In rare cases, salmonella infection may spread into the bloodstream and then to other places in the body. It can be fatal if the person is not treated with antibiotics right away, the CDC said.
Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps that occur 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria, the CDC said.
Children younger than 5, adults older than 65 and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness when exposed to salmonella, but most patients recover within 4 to 7 days without treatment.
In a statement to PIX11 News, Empire Kosher said:
“We are shocked and saddened to have just learned there may have been a death potentially related to a Salmonella outbreak and we extend our sympathies to anyone affected. While we have no data that connects this tragic event to our products, we have been cooperating fully with the United States Department of Agriculture – Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they investigate a multistate Salmonella outbreak. We take food safety and the health of our consumers very seriously and any illness, even potentially linked to our products, is unacceptable. We continue to very aggressively work to ensure the quality and safety of our products.
“CDC is not advising that people avoid eating kosher chicken or Empire® Kosher brand chicken and no products are being recalled. Empire® Kosher, along with the USDA and CDC, want to remind consumers of safe handling practices for raw chicken. When handled and cooked properly to 165°F, consumers can continue to have full confidence in chicken products, including the Empire® Kosher brand. If you live in these areas identified and have any questions please call 1-877-627-2803 to speak with an Empire® Kosher Consumer Specialist.”