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Fareway chicken salad-maker says they are not to blame for salmonella outbreak that took a life

This news story was published on April 13, 2018.
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Fareway store in Mason City

ACKLEY, IOWA – An Iowa company that makes chicken salad for Fareway stores says they are in the clear and did not cause the lethal salmonella outbreak that took an Iowa woman’s life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, on February 21, 2018, Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. of Ackley, Iowa, recalled all chicken salad produced from January 2, 2018 to February 7, 2018. The recalled chicken salad was sold in containers of various weights from the deli at Fareway grocery stores in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota from January 4, 2018, to February 9, 2018. 265 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium were reported from 8 states. 94 hospitalizations were reported, including one person from Iowa who died. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that chicken salad produced by Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. and sold at Fareway grocery stores was the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

However, this week, Triple T Specialty Meats says they were not the cause of the outbreak. After wishing sympathy upon those who were affected by the outbreak, the company said “after a thorough investigation and extensive testing by state of Iowa, USDA and FDA inspection teams, no salmonella was found at the Triple T Specialty Meats facility in Ackley. Further, no salmonella was found in any products tested at the Triple T Specialty Meats facility. Finally, all chicken salad produced by Triple T Specialty Meats; that remained in the original sealed packaging, tested negative for salmonella.”

“We take this very seriously and will continue to work with all government agencies to assist in determining the source of the salmonella,” said Jolene Heikens, Co-Owner and CEO of Triple T Specialty Meats. “In the meantime, Triple T Specialty Meats is running business as usual and we appreciate our customer’s and the communities continued support. We will continue to provide only the highest quality product and services meeting all USDA and FDA regulations.”

All agency inspector’s reports showing “No Salmonella Found” have been provided to Triple T Specialty Meats and will be made available to customers or vendors upon request, the company also stated.

Triple T Specialty Meats describes itself as “a family owned and operated specialty meat and food processor established in 1996 and operates in Ackley, Iowa by Greg and Jolene Heikens. The Heikens accredit much of their success to surrounding themselves with exceptional employees, but when you meet the Heikens and become acquainted with their brainstorming, get-after-it, fun-loving personalities, you will understand what makes Triple T Specialty Meats successful, but more importantly special.”

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