The outbreak of Salmonella from chicken salad has sickened another 105 people, bringing the total number of illnesses to 170 people in 7 states, according to an update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 22.
Investigators have traced the outbreak to chicken salad that was produced by Triple T Specialty Meats Inc. The chicken salad was sold from January 4 through February 9 at Fareway grocery stores in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Fareway Stores Inc. says it isn’t to blame for the outbreak because it acted before the USDA to stop the problem. The manufacturer, Triple T. Specialty Meats Inc., also denies responsibility for the outbreak.
When the FDA inspected Triple T’s facilities on February 14 — five days after the chicken salad was pulled out of Fareway stores — all tests came back negative for Salmonella and Listeria.
The FDA did not test the chicken salad itself at Triple T’s facilities, because meat products fall under the USDA jurisdiction. Instead, the FDA tested chicken salad from six Fareway grocery stores and got two positive tests for Salmonella, which led to the recalls.
Triple T says they are not to blame for the Salmonella contamination, and instead it must have occurred during shipping.
According to David Werning of the Iowa Inspections & Appeals:
The likelihood of something happening in transit is very minimal. Was it a particular ingredient, was it the way it was cooked or prepared, was it was it the way someone handled it?”
The CDC is now testing samples of the contaminated chicken salad in an effort to pinpoint where the outbreak may have started.