FDA & USDA Inspect Tainted Chicken Salad Following Salmonella Outbreak

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A follow up to that salmonella outbreak in Iowa and other Midwest states.

The FDA says more than 100 people became sick after eating chicken salad manufactured by Triple T Specialty Meats in Ackley, Iowa, and sold by Fareway Stores.

On February 14th, five days after the chicken salad was pulled off Fareway shelves, the FDA tested all of Triple T's facilities; all tests came back negative for salmonella and listeria.

However, the FDA didn't test the chicken salad itself while at the manufacturer, which processes several meat and seafood products. On the list: crab and chicken salad.

“Our inspection would be based more on those products that fall under the FDA inspection, so that crab salad, I think there were some cheese products that were being made there, too, that would be our jurisdiction," said David Werning of Iowa Inspections & Appeals.

It's up the USDA to inspect and regulate egg, poultry, and meat products.

“We would have no reason to be there while they are producing. That’s because there is nothing about that chicken salad that is under our authority until it reaches the Fareway Distribution Center,” Werning said.

The FDA has jurisdiction over grocery stores, and inspected the chicken salad from six Fareway locations.

“We did temperature tests and got two positives, which is evidence that there was salmonella in the chicken salad,” Werning said.

According to the USDA, this chicken salad was produced between January 1, 2018 and February 7, 2018.

People like Jim Fox say they bought the tainted chicken salad, ate it, and got sick.

“This was so bad, when you are so dehydrated that they can’t give you enough fluids fast enough,” he said.

Now, the FDA and the USDA are trying to figure out how more than 20,000 pounds of chicken salad became infected with salmonella.

“The likelihood of something happening in transit is very minimal," Werning said. "Was it a particular ingredient, was it the way it was cooked or prepared, was it was it the way someone handled it?"

Triple T Meats declined to answer questions from Channel 13, but Executive Director Jolene Heikens sent a text message saying, “All FDA and USDA test came back negative for salmonella and listeria."

Fareway said the chicken salad was not produced at any Fareway stores and the product was pulled on February 9, 2018.

The FDA says the CDC is now testing samples of the tainted chicken salad to pinpoint where the outbreak started.

We're waiting for inspection records from the USDA to determine when Triple T Meats was last inspected and the results of that inspection.