The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a Public Health Alert warning consumers of Foster Farms chicken that some of their producets contained salmonella bacteria. Due to the government shutdown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have enough workers to respond to the alert quickly, as the CDC is normally the agency responsible for monitoring food-borne illnesses. The CDC ordered 30 furloughed workers to come back to the agency to assist with epidemiology and monitoring services. The outbreak affects Foster Farms poultry plants, mostly located in California, but affecting people nationwide. There were 278 reports of illness, with 42% of victims hospitalized. Although the CDC denies that more people were affected because of the lack of CDC employees, it is clear there were not enough workers at the time of the health alert to respond as quickly as is normally expected. The USDA is threatening to shut down the suspected poultry plants, though Foster Farms has so far refused to issue a recall, stating that proper handling of the affected chicken will not spread salmonella and that they have rid their facilities of the offending products.
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