The CDC is warning of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella linked to kosher chicken that has hospitalized eight people and resulted in one death. The illness – which may be linked to Empire® Kosher brand chicken* – has sickened 17 people in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia – so far.

(*Scroll down to read a statement issued by Empire® Kosher.)

The CDC began investigating this outbreak in late June 2018 after the New York State Department of Health found several ill people reported eating kosher chicken. The investigation is ongoing.

The outbreak strain was also identified in samples of raw chicken collected from two facilities, including one facility that processes Empire Kosher brand chicken.

Advice to consumers:

  • This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken can contain germs that can make you sick.
  • Always cook raw chicken, including chicken breasts, whole chickens, and ground chicken, to an internal temperature of 165°F to prevent food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to make sure it is cooked to this safe temperature.
  • CDC is not advising that people avoid eating kosher chicken or Empire Kosher brand chicken.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw chicken.
  • Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken and other raw meats to avoid contaminating fruits, vegetables, and other food that won’t be cooked before it is eaten.
  • Don’t wash raw chicken before cooking. During washing, chicken juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other food, utensils, and countertops.
  • More prevention advice can be found here:
  • People get sick from Salmonella 12 to 72 hours after swallowing the germ and experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
  • Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.

Empire® Kosher issued the following statement:

“The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have each issued a public health alert out of an abundance of caution due to concerns about Salmonella illnesses reported in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States that may be associated with raw chicken products. We have been cooperating fully with the USDA and the CDC on this matter. The Empire® brand takes food safety and the health of our consumers very seriously. Throughout our 80-year history, we have worked with relentless focus to ensure the quality and safety of our products and continue to do so.

"The CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating Empire® brand chicken and no products have been recalled or withdrawn from the marketplace.  As with any poultry, when handled and prepared properly, including thoroughly cooking as instructed, our products pose no risk to consumers.  

"Empire® brand, along with the USDA and the CDC, want to remind consumers of safe handling practices for all raw chicken. When handled and cooked properly to 165°F, consumers can continue to have full confidence in chicken products. If you live in the areas identified and have any questions please call 1-877-627-2803 to speak with an Empire® Consumer Specialist.”