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Fareway chicken salad linked to 28 confirmed cases of salmonella

West Des Moines woman files lawsuit Friday, alleging she was sickened after eating chicken salad from the Iowa-based chain

Stock photo of a Fareway store. (Rob Clark/The Gazette)
Stock photo of a Fareway store. (Rob Clark/The Gazette)

Iowa has 28 confirmed cases and 66 probable cases of people statewide who have gotten salmonella poisoning since Jan. 1 after eating chicken salad from Fareway, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported Friday.

One of these Iowans, a West Des Moines woman, sued the Boone-based grocery store chain Friday, claiming Fareway should not have allowed the tainted chicken salad, prepared by third party, to be distributed to customers in five states, including Iowa.

Kati Huffman, 31, bought prepared chicken salad from Fareway Feb. 7 and ate it Feb. 11, the lawsuit states. The next day she started having severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which worsened until she went to Methodist Hospital in downtown Des Moines. She was diagnosed with salmonella Thursday, the suit states.

Huffman is seeking compensation for lost work and medical expenses.

The state health department issued an alert Tuesday to five states saying Fareway chicken salad had been linked to multiple cases of salmonella. Preliminary tests by the State Hygienic Laboratory in Coralville indicated the presence of salmonella in the product.

Fareway voluntarily pulled the chicken salad from the shelves and is working with the Public Health Department and the Department of Inspections and Appeals on the investigation, the state reported.

Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that usually last just a few days. But the illness is linked to 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths a year, Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The salmonella strain identified in the recent outbreak is Salmonella Typhimurium, the health department reported. Confirmed cases are people who have a laboratory-confirmed positive test for this strain of the disease with onset of symptoms since Jan. 1 who reported eating chicken salad from Fareway in the seven days before getting sick.

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Probable cases include people with salmonella connected to people with lab-confirmed cases or those who tested positive (not laboratory confirmed) with illness onset since Jan. 1 who ate chicken salad from Fareway in the previous week.

Fareway is a Boone-based grocery company with 118 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Nebraska has one confirmed salmonella case linked to the Fareway outbreak, Leah Bucco-White, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Friday. Other states did not immediately respond to The Gazette’s request to know about confirmed cases.

The Iowa public health department is not releasing in which counties the Iowa cases have occurred.

l Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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