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Public Health investigating outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to frozen chicken

Public health authorities are warning Canadians of an outbreak of Salmonella that has been linked to raw frozen breaded chicken products.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada to investigate outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in three provinces.

<who>Photo Credit: File photo

Currently, there are seven cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in three jurisdictions. Three cases were found in British Columbia , one in Alberta, and three in Ontario.

One person has been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick in June 2018. The average age of cases is 12 years, with ages ranging from 1 to 42 years. The majority of cases (57%) are male.

As part of these outbreak investigations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued food recall warnings on July 20, 2018 and July 21, 2018 for the following products:

  • No Name brand Chicken Nuggets (907g), with a best before date of May 15, 2019 on the outer package and a lot code of 1358M on the inner package. UPC - 0 60383 89685 0. The product was distributed nationally.
  • Unbranded $10 Chicken Fries (1.81kg), with a best before date of March 23, 2019. UPC - 0 60249 01411 4. The product was distributed nationally.

Canadians are advised not to consume the recalled products, and retailers and restaurants are advised to not serve the recalled products.

Frozen breaded chicken products containing raw poultry pose an increased health risk to individuals who handle, prepare or consume these types of foods. The Public Health Agency of Canada advises Canadians to follow proper food safety practices when handling, preparing or consuming frozen raw breaded chicken products such as chicken burgers, nuggets, strips, and chicken fries.

These outbreaks are a reminder that Salmonella can be present in various frozen raw breaded chicken products, says Health Canada. Illnesses can be avoided by following cooking instructions carefully and verifying the internal temperature after cooking, as recommended, before consuming these products. Frozen raw breaded chicken products must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure that they are safe to eat.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal or contaminated product. Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting.

These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases, severe illness and hospitalization may occur. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks.

People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care provider if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.

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