The threat of Foster Farms packaged chicken tainted with salmonella has spread to Santa Barbara.
As of late Thursday afternoon, nearly 300 people have become sickened by the pathogen in 18 states.
At least nine others in Santa Barbara were at risk of eating potentially tainted chicken, including the Moschitto family, and miles away, the Kirkbrides. “The number is P-6137,” said Liza Kirkbride, pointing out the specific USDA mark to NewsChannel. “Right there.”
Liza Kirkbride and Daisy Moschitto both realized this week that each had Foster Farms chicken in their freezers with packing numbers linked to the salmonella scare.
And you might, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the three USDA lots in question — P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632 — are still being sold in stores.
“We went through the question: Do we keep it because they said if you cook it, it should be fine?” Mosschitto said. “But we thought we’ve got the sponge, the sink — we could get salmonella from all those things.”
Foster Farms has not issued a recall for the specific chicken and likely won’t need to, according to California’s Department of Public Health. Consumers are told to handle the meat properly and cook it thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Is that enough to put the family cook at ease?
“Absolutely not,” Kirkbride said. “No, I wouldn’t think about cooking that chicken or risking it. It’s going in the garbage or I will try to return it to the store where I bought it from.”
Costco, Albertson’s and other chains will allow customers to return the specifically marked chicken packages for a refund, with a receipt, even though the food isn’t officially targeted by a recall.
In the meantime, the USDA gave Foster Farms a Thursday deadline to fix sanitary conditions that pose a “serious, on-going public health threat.”