Chicken check-in: Entree sickens 6 Minnesotans – any in your freezer?

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A raw, frozen chicken entree that is widely available in many grocery chain supermarkets has apparently sickened at least six Minnesotans.

The Minnesota Department of Health says the product is Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast. The product comes with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-1358.

Investigators from the Minnesota departments of health and agriculture determined there were six cases of salmonella infection occurring between August and September that were due to the same bacterial strain. One person was hospitalized as a result.

Officials say this is the first salmonella outbreak in Minnesota since improvements were made in 2008 in product labeling the products. The current labels on the Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev clearly say the product is raw.

Chicken is such a common source of salmonella contamination that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an entire section of its website devoted to safety tips.

Salmonella is a contaminant in many food products. Last month, the former owner of a Georgia peanut company was convicted on criminal charges related to a salmonella outbreak that killed nine people, including three Minnesotans. The 2009 salmonella outbreak involving tainted peanut butter sickened more than 714 people.

The CDC notes that Salmonella causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, 450 deaths, and an estimated $365 million in direct medical costs in the United States every year.

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