CDC staffers called back to work after salmonella outbreak

Bethan Owen Contributor
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After nearly 300 people nationwide were sickened by salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recalled 30 furloughed staffers from unpaid leave, the BBC reports.

The CDC, like many government entities, has been operating with minimal staff since the government shutdown. Until Tuesday, only two of the CDC’s 80 staff specializing in food-borne illness were on the clock.

“The number of people we know to be ill is just the tip of the iceberg,” CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal said. “This outbreak shows that is a terrible time for government public health officials to be locked out of their offices and labs, and for government websites to go dark.”

The outbreak was traced back to raw chicken from three Foster Farms facilities in California. The chicken was mainly distributed in California, Washington state and Oregon, but the disease has since spread to a total of 18 states.

Foster Farms said in a statement that no recall had been ordered, their products “are safe to consume if properly handled and cooked,” and any sickness from the meat is due to its being undercooked or improperly handled.