Over 300 sickened from salmonella outbreak nationally

by: Jacqueline Fell Updated:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 300 people across the country, including North Carolina, have now been sickened in an ongoing salmonella outbreak with the source being raw chicken from a California farm.

The USDA never issued a recall for the source, and now nearly a dozen groups are calling the response inadequate.

They told Eyewitness News the government had evidence to take more action.

Consumer groups are aghast the USDA is not recommending California's Foster Farms to recall raw chicken linked to salmonella.

The outbreak has now sickened at least 338 people in 20 states and Puerto Rico.

Eight consumer groups fired off a damning letter to the head of the federal agency.

They said chicken sellers and the USDA should guarantee the raw meat is contamination-free before it ever enters your kitchen.

Foster Farms announced changes addressing slaughter practices this week.

The USDA said the company has implemented enough changes to continue operations.

Eyewitness News learned two Democratic members of Congress sent this letter to the USDA and the CDC, accusing the agencies of failing to protect consumers from what they call a "clear public health threat posed by Foster Farms."

A USDA spokesman said a mandatory recall is beyond the agency's authority and called the letter from the consumer groups "activism."