- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that it has ended its investigation of eight salmonella outbreaks that have sickened 895 people across 48 states, Food Safety News reported.
- This is a record number of human illnesses linked to poultry, and more than double the 324 cases the CDC reported in June, when it first announced the outbreaks.
- CDC warned on its website that, "Although these outbreak investigations are over, people can still get a Salmonella infection from live poultry, including those kept in backyard flocks."
Concluding the investigation while further illnesses are possible shows the severity of this salmonella outbreak. Often a food pathogen-related investigation ends long after the related recall and reported illnesses stop. In this case, the agency warns that while these outbreaks are not over, it no longer needs to investigate to understand the underlying issue.
Consumers may not realize that these salmonella infections were not caused by eating chicken. Instead, the illnesses stemmed from consumers' "contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, sourced from multiple hatcheries," according to the CDC. But because of the association of raw chicken with salmonella, they may have needlessly avoided purchasing chicken, to the detriment of poultry processors.
For food and beverage segments prone to certain contaminants, such as poultry and salmonella, companies may have to go beyond Food Safety Modernization Act requirements to maintain a safe and healthy food supply. This may require poultry companies to impose additional self-regulations that go beyond what FSMA specifically demands to reduce the risk of contamination and related recalls in the future.