WASHINGTON — A salmonella outbreak that has sickened 278 in 18 states can be traced back to raw chicken from a California farm, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.


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FSIS linked illnesses to three processing facilities operated by Foster Farms but could not yet pinpoint specific products.

No recall has been issued. Foster Farms sold raw chicken mainly to retailers in California, Oregon and Washington.

“We deeply regret any foodborne illness that may be associated with any of our products,” Foster Farms President Ron Foster said in a press release. “Food safety is at the very heart of our business. It is a continuous process of improvement. In addition to collaborating with FSIS and CDC, the company has retained national experts in epidemiology and food safety technology to assess current practices and identify opportunities for further improvement.”

The company assured customers its products are safe as long as they are handled and cooked properly.

Update 6:30pm: USA Today reported that closing of the foodborne illness network PulseNet due to the government shutdown impeded this investigation forcing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work by phone and email. As a result, PulseNet employees were brought back to work on Tuesday, Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the consumer advocacy Center for Science in the Public Interest, told USA Today.

Read more: Council Helps Food Industry Plan for Outbreaks

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