Fareway chicken salad public health alert issued in 5 states

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Most people take precautions to avoid contracting salmonella poisoning from raw chicken, but there are other foods that are surprisingly more likely to harbor the harmful bacteria.
USA TODAY

DES MOINES — Consumers in five Midwestern states are being warned against eating chicken salad sold at Fareway stores that’s been tied to multiple cases of salmonella illness.

Preliminary test results from the University of Iowa’s state hygienic laboratory indicate salmonella is present in the product, which Fareway voluntarily pulled from its shelves.

No chicken salad has been sold to the consuming public since Friday night, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals said, in its warning to consumers Tuesday. 

The Fareway Chicken Salad was sold in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. It was produced between Dec. 15 and Feb. 13 and was sold in plastic deli containers with a Fareway store deli label.

“The company has been very cooperative and is working” with the state investigation, said Steven Mandernach, food and consumer safety bureau chief at the inspections agency. Consumers who have purchased chicken salad from Fareway should throw it out and not return the product to the store. 

The health department is investigating multiple cases of possible illness associated with the chicken salad.

“The bottom line is that no one should eat this product,” said Patricia Quinlisk, the medical director at the public health department.

“If you have it in your refrigerator, you should throw it away,” she said in a statement.

Salmonella infection is a common bacterial disease that can cause illness and rarely, it can be severe, the state agencies said.

Usually, people who get salmonella infection develop symptoms within 12 to 36 hours after ingesting the bacteria, but symptoms can appear as early as six hours and as late as three days after ingestion.

Symptoms of salmonella infection generally last four to seven days and include diarrhea, headache, fever, nausea, abdominal pain, dehydration and vomiting.

Most people get better without treatment, but in some cases, the diarrhea associated with a salmonella infection can cause dehydration that can result in hospitalization, the state said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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