Costco Chicken Recall, One Costco store in the San Francisco Bay Area has ordered a recall of Foster Farms rotisserie chicken. The recall is the first in a nationwide outbreak that’s sickened more than 300 people. It followed a positive Salmonella test on a chicken roasted at the Costco warehouse in South San Francisco. Rotisserie chickens from the store could be linked to a cluster of 18 to 20 infections.
The carcass was plucked by California health officials from the home of one of the people sickened in the outbreak. Officials alerted Costco about the test results on Friday, said Craig Wilson, Costco’s food safety manager.
On Saturday, a recall notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that Costco’s El Camino Real store in San Francisco, Calif., was pulling nearly 40,000 pounds of rotisserie chickens and products over Salmonella contamination. The recall includes nearly 8,800 Kirkland Signature Foster Farms rotisserie chickens and more than 310 units of Kirkland Farm rotisserie chicken soup, rotisserie chicken leg quarters and rotisserie chicken salad.
Only rotisserie chicken and products with rotisserie chicken sold between Sept. 11 and Sept. 23 from the El Camino Real store are being recalled, Wilson said. The store is still selling raw Foster Farms poultry in packages as are other Costco warehouses.
Wilson said Costco has not pulled any raw poultry because the company is following USDA advice. The agency has not pressed for a recall, and Foster Farms has not ordered one, even though the outbreak has continued to spread, with nearly 320 sickened in 20 states and Puerto Rico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If people would just cook the chicken the way they should they’ll be fine,” Wilson said.
Salmonella is killed at 165 degrees. Wilson said the birds at the El Camino Real store cook them to 180 degrees. He suspects cross contamination.
Costco has posted a notice about the recall next to its membership desk. Safeway has also posted a notice next to refrigerated packages of chicken. The Kroger Co., which owns Fred Meyer, QFC, Fry’s, King Soopers/City Market, Ralphs, Food 4 Less and Smith’s, decided to pull Foster Farm poultry processed at the three central California plants implicated in the outbreak. Melinda Merrill, Fred Meyer spokeswoman, said the stores have voluntarily removed packages sold under the brand names of Simple Truth Organic and Kroger Value. The withdrawal also includes deli chicken and rotisserie chickens.
The stores are offering customers who return the poultry full refunds, Merrill said. Foster Farm poultry from plants not implicated in the illnesses are still for sale.
The outbreak, which started in March, was first made public on Monday, when the USDA issued a health alert. The same day it gave the company three days to bolster its food safety practices at the central California plants. The notices said inspectors had found a “high frequency” of Salmonella at them, with tests showing an incidence rate of about 25 percent. The USDA has a “performance standard” of 7.5 percent for Salmonella on whole chickens but in practice producers get a green light if nearly 10 percent of samples are positive.
On Thursday, the USDA said it would allow the three plants to continue operating after Foster Farms came up with more stringent food safety controls. A day later, the CDC said the outbreak had grown to 317 cases. But those are just the illnesses they know about. Perhaps 8,000 have been sickened. The CDC estimates that for every known case, at least 25 others go unreported.