Safety Recall: More Rotisserie Chicken Recalled at San Francisco Costco

October 29th, 2013 · No Comments

One of the last posts I did before I moved was regarding a large recall of rotisserie chickens from the San Francisco Costco location (1600 El Camino Real).  Well, it seems that recall wasn’t quite enough and now they are having a second recall involving 47,000 pounds of rotisserie chickens and products made with them due to possible salmonella contamination.

This second recall includes products sold as recently as October 15.  Shockingly the USDA believes that the salmonella contamination occurred after cooking in this locations preparation area.  The products being recalled were all sold from September 24 to October 15 and include:

  • 13,455 Kirkland Signature Foster Farms rotisserie chickens
  • 638 units of Kirkland Farm rotisserie chicken soup, cooked chicken leg quarters and chicken salad

According to Craig Wilson, Costco’s VP of Food Safety, Costco’s birds are typically cooked to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, well above the 165 degrees needed to kill salmonella bacteria.  In this case, the bacteria could have been splashed as workers mopped floors or could have been transferred when a worker got bacteria from a raw bird on a smock and the transferred it to the cooked chicken, Wilson said. The firm has changed cleaning and smock-changing procedures in response.

This recall is still part of the ongoing salmonella outbreak that began in March and has now sickened more than 338 people in 20 states and Puerto Rico; it appears that only one case of illness has been linked to Costco at this point.  This outbreak has been linked with three Foster Farms poultry plants in Fresno and Livingston, California.  Government inspectors found a “high frequency” of salmonella at these plants, with tests showing an incidence rate of about 25%. The USDA has a standard of 7.5% for Salmonella on whole chickens but in practice producers get a green light if less than 10% of samples are positive for salmonella.  That seems high to me, but I’m not an expert on food safety and such.  This salmonella outbreak has been caused by the Heidelberg strain which is rarely seen in the US, but was behind an outbreak last year as well.   This strain is drug-resistant which has led to 42% of victims being hospitalized, which is double the typical rate for salmonella infections.

Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.  All poultry products should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165° F as determined by a food thermometer. Using a food thermometer is the only way to know that food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy foodborne bacteria.  You should also avoid cross contamination by double bagging raw chicken, keeping it separate from other foods and washing utensils, plates, preparation surfaces and anything else that comes into contact with raw poultry.

If you bought one of these products or have questions regarding the recall should contact Costco at 800.774.2678.  You can read the official recall on the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website.

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Tags: Food · In the News · product recalls Share

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