St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Department of Health says investigators have linked seven recent cases of salmonella illness to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees made by two different producers.

Four people were sickened by the bacteria from early April through early June after eating Barber Foods Chicken Kiev with a USDA stamped code of P-276. A second outbreak, which occurred from early May through early June, affected three people and was linked to Antioch Farms brand Cordon Bleu raw stuffed chicken breast with a USDA stamp code of P-1358.

No deaths were reported, but four of the people required hospitalization.

Since 1998, there have been 9 outbreaks of illness caused by salmonella that have been linked to these types of products. Officials say consumers need to know that the products may look cooked, but are in fact raw and should be handled carefully and cooked thoroughly to avoid contamination.

“These chicken products are raw, breaded and pre-browned and often found near pre-cooked products at the grocery store, so even though the current labels state that the product is raw, consumers could mistakenly think the product is pre-cooked,” said Carlota Medus, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Illness Unit at MDH.

State officials say all raw poultry products need to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165-degrees Fahrenheit to kill the salmonella bacteria. Additional information about safe food handling practices can be found at the Minnesota Department of Health website.

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