Frozen Breaded, Stuffed Chicken Recalled Due to Salmonella Outbreak

28 people in eight states became ill after eating different brands, USDA says

A stuffed breaded chicken breast Photo: iStock

Almost 60,000 pounds of raw, frozen, breaded, stuffed chicken broccoli and cheese or chicken cordon bleu sold under three brands—Dutch Farms, Milford Farms, and Kirkwood—were recalled Monday after the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said they had been linked to 28 cases of Salmonella enteritidis in eight states. Eleven people have been hospitalized.

The recalled products were shipped nationwide, have “best if used by” dates of Feb. 24 and 25, 2023, and bear the establishment number P-2375 inside the USDA mark of inspection. Images of the recalled products are below. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the states where cases were reported are Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and New York. The CDC says that the true number of illnesses is probably higher, and that more states may be involved, because people may have recovered without needing medical care or being tested, so their illnesses were not reported.

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The outbreak was first announced in early June. At that time, the USDA said that testing by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture found the outbreak strain of salmonella in two samples of Kirkwood’s Chicken Cordon Bleu from a grocery store where an ill person bought frozen stuffed, breaded chicken. But no brand was definitively linked to the outbreak, and there was no product recall. Now, the agency says unopened intact packages of chicken stuffed with broccoli and cheese collected from an ill person’s home tested positive for the outbreak strain, and the recalled products were identified as being possible sources of salmonella. 

Serenade Farms, the manufacturer of the chicken products, did not immediately respond to CR’s request for comment.

Stuffed chicken recall packages

Source: USDA Source: USDA

How to Cook Chicken Safely

Frozen breaded chicken products that are packaged raw, as the ones involved in this outbreak are, pose a unique food safety challenge. The chicken may look brown because of the breading, making it appear cooked to some consumers. The USDA says that some of the people who became ill didn’t follow the cooking instructions on the product package. For example, the instructions specify that the products be cooked in an oven, but some said they cooked it in a microwave or an air fryer.

Consumers should read the package labels—the products will be marked raw or uncooked—and follow all cooking instructions. All chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F. Confirm the temperature of the chicken before you eat it by inserting a food thermometer into the center and the thickest part of the chicken. 

“You can’t tell whether chicken is cooked enough by checking to see if the juices run clear or that the meat shows no signs of pink,” says James E. Rogers, PhD, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports.

Importantly, the CDC says you should not use a microwave or an air fryer to cook raw frozen breaded stuffed chicken. That’s because these appliances won’t always reliably cook these products all the way through.

In addition, even though these products are frozen, they are raw; treat them the way you would any raw meat or poultry. Keep them separate from other raw foods, and wash your hands, all utensils, and surfaces that come into contact with the chicken. Be sure to refrigerate any leftovers within 2 hours of removing from the oven. Once the chicken cools off, the temperature may drop into what’s known as the “danger zone”—between 40° F and 140° F—where bacteria can grow rapidly.

Symptoms of Salmonella

Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps anywhere from 6 hours to six days after exposure, according to the CDC. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and resolves without treatment. However, some people may become so ill that they require hospitalization. Call a doctor if you have a fever higher than 102° F, if diarrhea doesn’t improve in three days, or if you have bloody stools. Dehydration is also possible and should be assessed by a doctor. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth and throat, dizziness when standing, and making very little urine.

Head shot of CRO author Lisa Gill

Lisa L. Gill

As a dorky kid, I spent many a Saturday at the Bloomington, Ind., public library, scouring Consumer Reports back issues for great deals. Now, as a (much) bigger kid, that's still my job! Identifying products and services, especially in healthcare, that are safe, effective, and affordable—and highlighting those that aren't—is my top concern. Got a tip? Follow me on Twitter ( @Lisa_L_Gill)