WASHINGTON – The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture is investigating a Salmonella Enteritidis illness cluster that may be linked to frozen, raw, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken products. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also is participating in the investigation.

FSIS said case patients had illness onset dates ranging from Feb. 21, 2021, to May 7, 2021.

“As part of the investigation, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected frozen, raw, breaded, stuffed chicken products from a retail store for testing,” the alert stated. “The raw product samples tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis. At this time, the production lots tested in Minnesota are not known to have been purchased by any of the case patients.”

However, the items linked to the illness cluster may be labeled “chicken cordon bleu”, chicken with “broccoli and cheese”, or “chicken Kiev.” Many of these stuffed chicken products were labeled with instructions identifying that the product was uncooked (raw). The labels also identified cooking instructions for preparation in an oven.

FSIS issued a public health alert to remind consumers about the proper handling and cooking of raw poultry products, because some of the patients reported they did not follow the cooking instructions. Instead, the items were prepared in a microwave, an air fryer or the oven for less than the recommended time and without using a meat thermometer to confirm the recommended temperature of 165 F was achieved.

“FSIS has not received any purchase documentation, shopper records, or other traceable information at this time,” the agency said. “Therefore, FSIS does not have the necessary information to request a recall. FSIS will continue to evaluate any new illness or traceable information as it becomes available. The investigation is ongoing, and FSIS continues to work with the CDC and state partners.”