Consumers urged to check for chicken linked to deadly Salmonella outbreak

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The states identified in addition to NY were Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The CDC says 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and NY. The illnesses were reported from September 25 to June 4, CDC officials said, and victims ranged in age from less than a year old to 76.

According to the CDC, the agency began an outbreak investigation in June after several cases were reported in NY among people who said they had consumed kosher chicken.

The outbreak was found in "samples of raw chicken collected from two facilities, including one facility that processes Empire Kosher brand chicken", a CDC release states.

Despite the reports, however, the CDC said it is "not advising that people avoid eating kosher chicken or Empire Kosher brand chicken". The New York State Department of Health found several of the patients had eaten Empire Kosher brand chicken, the CDC said. Rather, they should follow safe food preparation practices including washing hands before and after touching raw chicken and washing utensils, cutting boards and counters where raw chicken was prepared. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and a fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product.

Children younger than 5 years of age, adults older than 65 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Empire Kosher Poultry Inc. issued a public health alert because of concerns about a salmonella outbreak.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers".

While the outbreak dates back to June, it was only this week that the CDC made an official link between kosher chicken and salmonella.

"Even though proper handling techniques and thorough cooking can kill salmonella and other bacteria, there's no reason people should take on the risk if they have an easy solution: Buy new chicken", says Rogers. This includes how kosher animals are slaughtered and processed.

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