Pot Pies Suspected in 31-State Salmonella Outbreak

ConAgra Foods of Omaha, Neb., and CDC are warning consumers that Banquet frozen chicken and turkey pot pies are suspected to be the source of a salmonella outbreak this year that had sickened at least 152 people in 31 states as of Oct. 9. ConAgra said it believes consumer undercooking is the cause and said consumers can obtain refunds from it or their retail store. The products bear a Banquet label or a generic store brand with the number "P-9" printed on the side of the package. The generic brands are: Hill Country Fare (sold at HEB); Food Lion (sold at Food Lion); Great Value (sold at Wal-Mart); Kirkwood (sold at Aldi); Kroger (sold at Kroger); and Meijer (sold at Meijer).

The outbreak of Salmonella I,4,[5],12:i:- is being tracked by public health authorities in the states. Interviews comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons pointed to the pot pies as the likely source of the illness, CDC said. People whose Salmonella strain has this genetic fingerprint have been reported from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. CDC said at least 20 people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported. CDC said consumers should discard pot pie with a printed code ending in "P9" or "Est 1059."

Details are available at www.cdc.gov/salmonella/4512eyeminus.html and http://www.conagrafoodscompany.com/corporate/index.jsp. "The company reminds consumers that these products are not ready-to-eat, and must always be thoroughly cooked as instructed on the packages. The cooking instructions for these products are specifically designed to eliminate the presence of common pathogens found in many uncooked products," ConAgra said Oct. 9. "Salmonella is among the common pathogens found in not-ready-to-eat poultry containing products like pot pies. Cooking instructions are designed to result in the elimination of any risk associated with salmonella." The company asked consumers with questions about cooking the pies to call 866-484-8671 or contact it at www.conagrafoods.com/contactus.

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