Learn How to be a Small Business StartUp at classes in Western Washington

Do you have an idea for a small business that makes money, builds community, and protects the environment? Take a step to move your idea forward as the Washington Coast Works: Sustainable Small Business Competition (wacoastworks.org) kicks off with five community “ideation” events, to be held April 21-23 in Taholah, Aberdeen, La Push, Forks and Neah Bay. (Full schedule below.)
The Washington Coast Works competition offers budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop skills, get support and win cash to launch their businesses. The winner will receive $10,000 in startup funding, and two semifinalists will receive $5,000 each. Prize funding is provided by First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Port Angeles and the Quinault Indian Nation.
These three-hour workshops will:
 Answer all your questions about the competition, including how to apply, how the finalists and winners will be selected, what training and support will be provided, and more.
 Introduce you to the entrepreneur’s mindset, the opportunity discovery process, and sustainable “triple bottom line” businesses.
 Engage you in brainstorming activities designed to help generate ideas for new sustainable businesses that build leadership, contribute to conservation and keep money in the local economy.
All events are free and open to the public. No need to register in advance.

“This competition is a fantastic opportunity to develop some creative and unique sustainable businesses here in Grays Harbor. I would encourage anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a great business idea to attend the Ideation workshop to learn more about this opportunity” said Dru Garson, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor.

Entrants to the Washington Coast Works: Sustainable Small Business Competition, are encouraged but not required to attend one of these ideation events. Enter starting April 20 at wacoastworks.org. Entries close June 19.
The competition is being presented by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship at Pinchot University (formerly Bainbridge Graduate Institute) and the Taala Fund. USDA provided funding through its Rural Business Opportunity Grants to help launch the competition.
Ideation Events:
 Taholah – Tuesday, April 21, 10 a.m- 1 p.m.. Taholah Community Center,
 Aberdeen- Tuesday, April 21, 4 p.m.-7 p.m., GHC Whiteside Continuing Education Center
 La Push – Wednesday, April 22, 10 a.m.-1p.m., Tribal Office West Wing
 Forks- Wednesday, April 22, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Peninsula College
 Neah Bay – Thursday, April 23, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Marina building

WDFW Commission sets waterfowl seasons, discusses elk with hoof disease

With a record number of ducks counted on the northern breeding grounds this year, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved migratory waterfowl hunting seasons for this fall and winter during a public meeting in Olympia Aug. 8-9.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also approved a new regulation that requires hunters to leave on site the hooves of any elk taken in southwest Washington to help minimize the spread of a disease that affects the region’s herds.

Under the waterfowl hunting package, most hunting opportunities in Washington will be similar to last year. That includes a statewide duck season that will be open for 107 days, starting Oct. 11-15 and continuing Oct. 18-Jan. 25. A special youth hunting weekend also is scheduled Sept. 20-21.

Limits for mallard, pintail, scaup, redhead, goldeneye, harlequin, scoter and long-tailed duck will remain the same as last season. But the commission reduced the daily bag limit for canvasback to one per day because of decreasing numbers throughout North America.

Goose hunting seasons will vary among management areas across the state, but most open mid-October and run through late January. Limits for most geese did not change, except the commission did increase the daily bag limit for cackling geese in southwest Washington from three to four.

The commission also increased the overall harvest quota for dusky Canada geese in southwest Washington from 45 to 85 birds. As in previous years, hunters are limited to one dusky Canada goose a season in southwest Washington.

The goose and duck hunting seasons approved by the commission are based on state and federal waterfowl population estimates and guidelines. According to those estimates, a record number of ducks – approximately 49 million – were on the breeding grounds this spring in Canada and the United States.

Details on the waterfowl hunting seasons will be available later this week on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

In other action, the commission approved several land transactions, including the purchase of two parcels totaling nearly 2,900 acres of shrub-steppe in Yakima County. The land, located about five miles west of Naches, serves as critical habitat for a variety of wildlife, and is an important connection between summer and winter range for the Yakima elk herd.

The two parcels will be acquired through a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Cowiche Canyon Conservancy and the state Department of Ecology (DOE). The 2,588-acre property will be purchased for $1.38 million, while a 305-acre property will cost $170,000.

DOE and the Kennewick Irrigation District are providing the funding to acquire the two parcels to mitigate for the loss of shrub-steppe habitat that was converted to agricultural land. The properties will be managed as part of WDFW’s Oak Creek Wildlife Area.

The commission also received a briefing on a scientific panel’s determination that the disease that leaves elk in the St. Helens and Willapa Hills areas of southwest Washington with misshapen hooves likely involves a type of bacterial infection.

Members of the panel, composed of veterinarians and researchers throughout the state, agreed that the disease closely resembles contagious ovine digital dermatitis in sheep. The panel’s diagnosis is consistent with the findings of the USDA National Animal Disease Center and four other independent diagnostic laboratories that have tested samples of elk hooves submitted by WDFW since last year.

For more information on elk hoof disease, see WDFW’s recent news release at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jun2314a/ and the department’s wildlife health webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_disease/.

In other business, the commission conducted public hearings on the 2015-2021 Game Management Plan and proposed updates to the state Hydraulic Code.

The commission also received briefings on the department’s legislative proposals for 2015, proposed 2015-2017 operating and capital budget requests, and new potential revenue sources.

In addition, the commission was briefed on the impacts of a possible reduction in state General Funds. The potential cuts are in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s directive to state agencies to prioritize their activities and identify reductions totaling 15 percent.

Olympic National Forest asks “Which roads are important to you?”

The Olympic National Forest is hosting open houses asking the public to share the areas and roads they use on the Forest.  This information will help the Forest identify a financially sustainable road system that meets diverse access needs, minimizes environmental harm, and is safe and dependable because it is scaled to available resources.

 

“Your participation will help us understand your access needs,” said Forest Supervisor Reta Laford.  “It would be particularly helpful to know what areas you use on the Forest and what roads you use to get there.”

 

The open houses will be held around the Olympic Peninsula during the summer of 2014.

 

DATE TIME LOCATION
July 30 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Quinault  – Olympic National Forest, Quinault Ranger Station • 353 South Shore Rd.
August 19 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Shelton  – Shelton Civic Center • 525 West Cota St.
August 21 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Aberdeen – Rotary Log Pavilion •1401 Sargent Blvd.
August 27 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Olympia  – Olympic National Forest, Supervisor’s Office •1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW

 

In addition to attending open houses, the public may provide comments using the web-based map or on-line questionnaire on the Forest website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/olympic/sustainableroads.  Questionnaires are also available at any Olympic National Forest office.  Comments will be taken until August 31, 2014.

 

Forest road.

Approximately 2,000 miles of roads on the Olympic National Forest provide access for resource management, recreation, and a variety of other uses. About 1,200 miles are open to motorized vehicles and 600 miles are closed, that may be opened intermittently for resource management.

As part of a National effort, we are conducting a road system analysis to identify the minimum road system needed “for travel and for administration, utilization, and protection of National Forest System lands” [36 CFR 212.5(b)Forest Service Manual 7710Forest Service Handbook 7709.55(20)].

By the Fall of 2015, we will integrate agency and public input to produce a travel analysis report that will provide the basis for developing future proposed actions for travel management.

Your participation will help us understand your access needs! Learn how to help.

First participants in Conservation Stewardship Program can renew for five more years

The first participants of the Conservation Stewardship Program with contracts approved in fiscal year 2010, have from July 11 until Sept. 12 to file an application to renew their contracts and make decisions on additional conservation activities that will benefit priority natural resource issues.

 

CSP is offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and is the Farm Bill program that helps farmers and ranchers take conservation investments to the next level.

About 20,000 CSP contracts nationwide are reaching the end of their initial five-year contract period and may be renewed for an additional five years where participants agree to take additional conservation measures.

 

The program provides opportunities for farmers and ranchers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat.

“CSP farmers are conservation leaders and go the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” NRCS State Conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door said. “The 2014 Farm Bill continued that strong commitment and heightened the program’s focus on generating conservation benefits.”

 

Since CSP began in 2009, more than 58 million acres have been enrolled in the program – an area the size of Indiana and Wisconsin combined.  CSP participants boost their operations’ conservation benefits by installing new conservation activities that make positive changes in soil, water, air and wildlife habitat.

 

“Over the past five years, this program has allowed farmers and ranchers to improve their farm management systems, enhance data collection used to make operational decisions, and adopt many new conservation technologies.  It has been a worthwhile program for the participants and the conservation planners who assist them,” Rides at the Door said.

To learn about technical and financial assistance available through CSP, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted, the Conservation Stewardship webpage or local USDA service center. For more on the 2014 Farm Bill, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/FarmBill.  

Wildlife Department plans to survey elk with hoof disease, euthanize those with severe symptoms

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plans to conduct a broad-based survey this summer of elk with hoof disease in southwest Washington and will likely euthanize those with severe symptoms of the crippling ailment.

To help with the survey, state wildlife managers plan to enlist dozens of volunteers to assist them in assessing the prevalence and geographic distribution of the disease in the St. Helens and Willapa Hills elk herds.

To minimize the spread of the disease, WDFW is also proposing new regulations requiring hunters to leave the hooves of any elk taken in the affected area on site.

WDFW announced its plan two weeks after a 16-member scientific panel agreed that the disease most likely involves a type of bacterial infection that leaves elk with missing or misshapen hooves.

Members of the panel, composed of veterinarians and researchers throughout the state, agreed that the disease closely resembles contagious ovine digital dermatitis in sheep.

Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW epidemiologist, said the panel’s diagnosis is consistent with the findings of the USDA National Animal Disease Center and four other independent diagnostic laboratories that have tested samples of elk hooves submitted by WDFW since last year.

Mansfield said treponeme bacteria have been linked to an increase of hoof disease in sheep and cattle in many parts of the world, but have never before been documented in elk or other wildlife.

Nate Pamplin, director of WDFW’s Wildlife Program, said the diagnosis limits the department’s management options, because there is no vaccine for the disease and no proven options for treating it in the field.

“At this point, we don’t know whether we can contain this disease,” Pamplin said, “but we do know that assessing its impacts and putting severely crippled animals out of their misery is the right thing to do.”

Since 2008, WDFW has received increasing reports of elk with misshapen hooves in Cowlitz, Pacific, Lewis, Clark, Wahkiakum and Grays Harbor counties, all within the range of the two elk herds.

Scientists believe the animals pick up and transmit the disease through wet soil, characteristic of the lowlands of southwest Washington.

“There is no evidence that the bacteria are harmful to humans, and tests have shown that the disease does not affect the animals’ meat or organs,” Mansfield said. “But treating infected animals has posed a real challenge for the livestock industry for nearly 30 years.”

Some livestock producers bathe the hooves of infected sheep and cattle in an antibiotic solution, but many become re-infected and are ultimately sent to market, Mansfield said.

“In any case, daily footbaths are not a realistic solution when you’re dealing with thousands of free-roaming elk,” she said.

The primary focus of WDFW’s work this summer will be to assess the geographic spread of the disease and the proportion of the herd that is affected, Pamplin said. The department will enlist the help of volunteers to run survey routes and report their observations.

Information gathered from the survey will be compared against sightings of diseased elk reported by the public since 2010 using WDFW’s online reporting system, he said. Reports can be filed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_disease/reporting/ .

Next winter, WDFW will capture and fit elk with radio-collars to determine how the disease is affecting area elk populations, survival rates and calving. Wildlife managers will likely remove elk showing severe symptoms of hoof disease to end their suffering, Pamplin said.

In a separate measure, the department has proposed new regulations requiring hunters to leave the hooves of any elk taken in the affected area on site. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to hear public comments and take action on that proposal in August.

Pamplin noted that hoof disease is one of a number of illnesses without a cure affecting wildlife throughout the nation. Chronic wasting disease, epizootic hemorrhagic disease and tuberculosis all take their toll on elk and deer each year in other states.

“Bacterial hoof disease in elk presents a huge challenge for all of us,” Pamplin said. “We will continue to work with scientists, hunters and local communities to assess its toll on area elk herds and determine our course of action.”

Governor Jay Inslee announces steps to preserve SNAP benefits for Washington families in need

Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday announced steps to preserve Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for approximately 200,000 households in Washington. The changes will prevent the loss of nearly $70 million in federal SNAP benefits resulting from policy changes in a new Farm Bill passed by Congress.

“Governor Inslee’s decision to protect Washington families from food stamp cuts is a smart and principled decision–and it is the right thing to do by our kids. Hungry kids can’t learn. Food stamps are our number-one defense against childhood hunger,” said Jon Gould, Deputy Director of the Children’s Alliance.

A household’s SNAP benefits are calculated by factoring in a household’s eligibility for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The new Farm Bill made changes to the “Heat and Eat” option, which now requires states to provide a household $20 in LIHEAP assistance to maximize SNAP benefits. The prior law required that Washington only provide $1. Under the modified program, the Department of Social and Health Services will work with the Department of Commerce to provide $20 of LIHEAP assistance to eligible households, ensuring low-income families will remain eligible for up to $90 a month of SNAP benefits.

Washington joins seven other states in adopting this approach. This will not only help maintain economic stability for vulnerable families but for businesses in Washington, as the USDA estimates that every SNAP dollar spent generates about $2 in economic activity.

“Obviously, the loss of tens of millions of dollars aimed at feeding hungry families is not acceptable. These families have already suffered from significant reductions in the help they receive, and this $90 a month is the only way many families and seniors are able to put any food on their table. That is why my office brought together leaders from our state agencies and the community to figure out a compromise,” said Governor Inslee.

“Significant changes to the Heat and Eat option required some difficult choices for our state,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “Working together with our partners at DSHS, we evaluated every option and concluded that this solution is the best way to help more families fill the gap in their monthly food budget, while still providing needed financial assistance with heating bills.”

SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) is a fully federally-funded food benefit program administered by the Department of Social and Health Services on behalf of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). LIHEAP is also fully federally-funded and is administered by the Department of Commerce. Together, the programs help nearly one in seven residents throughout the state meet their most basic needs.

DSHS is a national leader in efficient SNAP administration. It was among the first states to examine how human services are delivered and to make changes to streamline operations while maintaining excellent services to clients. Washington’s benefits accuracy rate is more than 98 percent.

“Under Governor Inslee and DSHS Secretary Kevin W. Quigley’s leadership, we were able to find a solution that does not force some of the most vulnerable families in Washington state, including elderly and disabled individuals, to choose between heating their homes and feeding their children,” said David Stillman, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services’ Economic Services Administration. “This is an important effort to ensure people are safe, healthy and supported and taxpayer resources are safeguarded.”

The state will now ask all SNAP applicants for proof of utility payments. In cases where clients have no separate utility bills, like low-income senior citizens whose rent includes utilities, clients will be enrolled in the LIHEAP program and given $20 of heating benefit. This will also qualify them for the highest utility deduction, thereby preserving higher SNAP benefits.

WDFW will hold two public meetings on hoof disease in S.W. Washington

OLYMPIA – State wildlife managers believe they are close to determining the cause of hoof disease in southwest Washington elk and plan to hold two meetings in April to share results to date and answer questions from the public.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled public meetings at the following times and locations:

  • Vancouver – April 15, 6-8 p.m., Community Room, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way.
  • Chehalis – April 16, 6-8 p.m., V.R. Lee Community Building (Recreation Park), 221 S.W. 13th Street.

Sandra Jonker, WDFW regional wildlife manager, said department staff will discuss results to date of ongoing tests designed to identify the cause of deformed or missing hooves in elk, primarily in Cowlitz, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties.

Since 2009, WDFW has collected tissue samples from 43 elk for testing at diagnostic laboratories at Washington State University, Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming, the USDA National Animal Disease Center and the University of Liverpool in England.

Jonker said recent tests of diseased hooves point to the presence of treponeme bacteria, which have been linked to hoof disease in cows and sheep in many parts of the world.

“It’s premature to announce a final diagnosis, but tests from three independent diagnostic labs appear to show an association between the diseased hooves and the presence of treponeme bacteria,” Jonker said. “That’s a real concern, because the options for treating the disease are extremely limited.”

Kristin Mansfield, WDFW epidemiologist, said treponemes have been linked to an increasing incidence of hoof disease in livestock for two decades, but have never been documented in elk or other wildlife.

There is no evidence that these bacteria are harmful to humans, she said, noting that tests indicate the disease is limited to hooves and does not affect the animals’ meat or organs.

Mansfield said scientists believe animals pick up and transmit the disease through wet soil, characteristic of the lowlands of southwest Washington. Livestock infected with treponeme bacteria may respond to repeated courses of antibiotics, but frequently become re-infected once they are returned to pasture, she said.

“Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for this disease,” she said. “Livestock that don’t respond to treatment or become re-infected after treatment are usually sent to market and slaughtered.”

For purposes of comparison, WDFW has collected elk from areas both affected and not affected by the disease, Jonker said. Testing of tissues taken from 11 elk in January will help determine whether treponemes are the primary cause of the disease or opportunistic bacteria that invade hooves that are already damaged, she said.

“Test results taken from those samples are due this summer, and should help us answer an important question about this disease,” Jonker said.

Meanwhile, WDFW is developing a management approach based on input from WDFW staff and two advisory groups created to help guide the department’s course:

  • A 14-member technical advisory group, established to recommend diagnostic approaches, will assess findings of the diagnostic laboratories and advise on disease control options. The group is composed of veterinarians from universities, government agencies and local veterinary practices in Washington and other states.
  • An 18-member public working group, made up of people from southwest Washington, is working with WDFW to share information and discuss management and research needs. The advisory group includes county commissioners, public and private landowners, hunters, sportsman groups, local business owners, and others concerned about the area elk herd.

“As with many wildlife diseases, there are no easy answers to this problem,” Jonker said. “But we need to be ready to take action, because doing nothing is not an option.”

As a precautionary measure, WDFW will ask the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt a new regulation requiring hunters to remove the hooves of any elk taken in southwest Washington and leave them in the area to prevent the disease from spreading.

In addition to the two public meetings sponsored by WDFW, wildlife managers will also participate in meetings sponsored by county officials concerned about hoof disease. Those meetings are scheduled at the following times and places:

  • Longview – March 27, 6-8 p.m., Cowlitz County Conference Center, 1900 7th Ave.
  • Cathlamet – April 2, 6 p.m., River Street Meeting Room, 25 River St.

To learn more about hoof disease or report a sighting, see WDFW’s website at
http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_disease/.

DNR says groundbreaking research could save Washington Douglas fir

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the publication of an important new scientific report on root rot diseases in Douglas fir trees by a Study Committee of the Washington State Academy of Sciences. DNR requested the report to better understand and address root rot diseases that threaten Douglas fir, which are a vital economic and ecological resource in Washington.

 

The commercial harvest of Douglas fir on DNR-managed, state-owned public land in the 2011-2013 biennium accounted for  an estimated 800 million board feet of harvested timber and $250 million in non-tax revenue for DNR’s trust beneficiaries, which include public schools and universities.

 

“We thank the Washington Academy of Sciences and the esteemed scientists working under its auspices for completing this groundbreaking report,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “With the leadership of Study Committee Chair Dr. R. James Cook of Washington State University, they have produced an important road map to guide scientific inquiry and the response to tree parasites and disease that threaten the ecological health of Washington’s forests and the economic vitality of the communities that rely upon them.”

 

The Study Committee’s report, entitled Opportunities for Addressing Laminated Root Rot Caused by Phellinus Sulphurascens in Washington’s Forests, recommends consideration of several approaches to manage laminated root rot. The Committee also stressed the need for further molecular biology research, noting that a robust understanding of the full life cycle of tree-root pathogens and their host interactions can lead to innovative ways to exploit deviations in disease infection and tree mortality.

 

“The importance of molecular research on tree-root pathogens to our state and region cannot be overstated, and we urge research universities to devote resources and expertise to developing this emerging area of study,” said Dr. Cook. “I look forward to continued work with DNR on this issue, and I am pleased that the agency is under the effective leadership of Commissioner Goldmark, himself a molecular biologist with a keen interest in cutting-edge research.”

 

A copy of the report is available at the Academy website: http://www.washacad.org/initiatives/files/WSAS_Laminated_Root_Rot_%202013.pdf.

 

Washington State Academy of Sciences Study Committee

Members of the Study Committee include: R. James Cook, Chair, University of Washington; Robert L. Edmonds, University of Washington; Ned. B. Klopfenstein, USDA Forest Service; Willis Littke, Weyerhaeuser Company; Geral McDonald, USDA Forest Service; Daniel Omdal, DNR; Karen Ripley, DNR; Charles G. “Terry” Shaw, New Zealand and US Forest Services; Rona Sturrock, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre; and Paul Zambino, USDA Forest Service.

 

Commissioner Goldmark would like to thank all of the Study Committee members and their collaborators on behalf of the citizens of Washington.

 

About the Washington State Academy of Sciences

The Washington State Academy of Sciences provides expert scientific and engineering analysis to inform public policy-making, and works to increase the role and visibility of science in the State of Washington. Learn more at: http://www.washacad.org.

California Firm Recalls Grilled Chicken Salad Products Due To Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

The products were produced between Sept. 23 and Nov. 6, 2013 and shipped to distributions centers intended for retail sale in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

FSIS began monitoring a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses on Oct. 29, 2013 then was notified by FDA on Nov. 6, 2013 that California authorities had reported case-patients consuming pre-packaged salads with grilled chicken. Working in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FDA, the California Department of Public Health, the Washington State Department of Health, and the Arizona Department of Health Services, FSIS has determined that there is a link between the grilled chicken salads and the illness cluster. Twenty-six case-patients have been identified in three states with indistinguishable E. coli O157:H7 PFGE (genetic fingerprint) patterns with illness onset dates ranging from Sept 29, 2013 to Oct. 26, 2013. Based on epidemiological information, 15 case-patients reported consumption of ready-to-eat pre-packaged salads prior to illness onset. A traceback investigation determined Glass Onion Catering was the supplier of the products implicated in the outbreak.  

While uncommon to find E. coli O157:H7 in a poultry product, FSIS will continue its investigation in conjunction with the FDA to identify the source of the contamination. FSIS continues to work with the CDC, FDA and state public health partners on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.

 E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.
 
 FSIS and the company are concerned that some products may be in a consumer’s refrigerators. Because this is a ready-to-eat product, FSIS advises all consumers to destroy the product.

Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Tom Atherstone, company president, at (510) 236-8905.
 
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

USDA issues health alert for some California chicken

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is issuing a public health alert for raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California after 278 people have fallen ill.

The USDA says that strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with chicken distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington state.

The Salmonella outbreak has spread to 18 states, though most of the illnesses have been reported in California.

A spokesman for Foster Farms says no recall is in effect and that the infections were caused by eating undercooked or improperly handled chicken.

The USDA has not directly linked the outbreak of illnesses to a specific product or production period. The USDA mark on suspect packages would read: P6137, P6137A and P7632.

Cooking chicken to 165-degrees kills the Salmonella bacteria.

It's time to cook.... your chicken.