OLYMPIA, Wash., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A strain of salmonella linked to Foster Farms chicken by health officials has sickened at least 124 people in 12 states, federal officials said.
Washington state health officials linked the outbreak to chicken from Foster Farms, a company based in Kelso, Wash., with processing plants in Washington, California and Louisiana.
Health officials have been tracking contamination and illness issues traced to the company since 2004, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Friday.
Foster Farms food safety manager Bob O'Connor said the company regrets any illnesses but insisted the company's products meet U.S. food safety standards. He urged consumers to handle raw meat carefully.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted on its website the outbreak of the bacteria strain Salmonella Heidelberg sickened 56 people in Washington since June, 38 in Oregon and 30 in other states.
The Oregonian said no one has died from the contamination although a third of the victims were hospitalized.