Public Safety

Salmonella outbreak infected 265, killed one Iowan

Fareway, Triple T Specialty Meats face lawsuits linked to outbreak, which CDC says is now over

The Fareway store in North Liberty. (Rob Clark/The Gazette)
The Fareway store in North Liberty. (Rob Clark/The Gazette)

A salmonella outbreak linked to chicken salad sold at Fareway is over, government officials reported, but not before sickening 265 people, including an Iowan who died from the infection.

The outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium from Jan. 8 through March 20 sickened people ranging in age from younger than 1 to 89 in eight states, including Iowa, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s final report released Friday.

More than a third of the people affected were hospitalized, including the person from Iowa who died. The CDC did not provide any additional details about the person who died.

Public health officials in Iowa first detected this outbreak and linked reported illnesses to chicken salad sold at Fareway, a Boone-based chain with 118 grocery stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Triple T Specialty Meats of Ackley produced the chicken salad that caused the illnesses, the CDC reported.

The CDC identified similar illnesses in other states and added those to the outbreak. Of 222 people interviewed, 194 said they ate chicken salad purchased from Fareway, the CDC reported.

Upon learning of the illnesses, Fareway stopped selling chicken salad in all its stores Feb. 9. The Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals issued a consumer advisory Feb. 13.

Investigators in Iowa collected chicken salad from two Iowa Fareway locations for laboratory testing. An outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium was identified in both samples, the CDC reported.

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On Feb. 21, Triple T recalled all chicken salad produced from Jan. 2 to Feb. 7. The recalled chicken salad was sold in containers of various weights from the deli at Fareway stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota from Jan. 4 to Feb. 9.

Salmonella, which can be found in undercooked chicken, 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, the CDC reported.

Fareway and Triple T face several state and federal lawsuits related to the outbreak.

Lori Taylor of Toddville sued the grocery store chain and meat provider Feb. 28 in Linn County District Court, reporting she was diagnosed with salmonella Feb. 19, nearly two weeks after eating chicken salad from Fareway.

Denise Whipple of North Liberty filed a lawsuit in Johnson County Feb. 22, alleging the salmonella she got after eating chicken salad from Fareway endangered her transplanted liver.

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

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