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Salmonella outbreak linked to kosher chicken kills 1, sickens 17 — including case in Maryland

At least 17 people were sickened, including one in Maryland, and one person died from a salmonella outbreak in the Mid-Atlantic and northeast that stemmed from kosher chicken, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC is investigating the four-state outbreak. One person contracted a salmonella-related illness in Maryland, another person got sick in Virginia, four people became ill in Pennsylvania and 11 people were sickened in New York, according to the CDC.

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Eight people were hospitalized, and one of the New York patients died, the CDC reported.

In interviews, patients reported eating kosher chicken, and several people said they ate Empire Kosher brand chicken. The strain of salmonella that caused the outbreak was identified in samples of raw chicken collected from two facilities, including one that processed Empire Kosher chicken. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service determined there was a link between the Empire Kosher and the salmonella outbreak.

“The Empire brand takes food safety and the health of our consumers very seriously. Throughout our 80-year history, we have worked with relentless focus to ensure the quality and safety of our products and continue to do so,” Empire Kosher said in a statement. “The CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating Empire brand chicken and no products have been recalled or withdrawn from the marketplace.”

Food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, a bacterial disease with symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Symptoms, which can last four to seven days, typically appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food, according to the CDC.

The infected chicken was sold between September 2017 and June 2018, according to the USDA. The Food Safety and Inspection Service is concerned some customers could still have infected products stored in freezers, and urged consumers to properly cook chicken to 165 degrees, wash hands following chicken preparation and clean surfaces that come into contact with raw chicken to avoid bacterial contamination.

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