State Department of Agriculture officials said West Virginians shouldn't fret over the most recent salmonella outbreak that has left at least 300 people sick nationwide.
The department released a statement last week the likelihood of an outbreak in the Mountain State is low.
"We are certainly aware of the outbreak and are following procedures to make sure no one in West Virginia will be affected," said Buddy Davidson, communications officer for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. "We have our inspectors on the ground and they will be inspecting dairy and meat products at supermarkets around the state."
The Associated Press reported Thursday that an outbreak had been linked to three California poultry processing facilities belonging to Foster Farms. The salmonella pathogen was found in chicken products distributed in California, Oregon and Washington. Although only reportedly distributed in three states, illnesses have been reported in 15 states.
"Our staff has the information federal investigators have uncovered so far," Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick said in a statement. "It appears that this is primarily an issue in the western United States, but we want to take reasonable precautions here."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified at least seven different strains of Salmonella Heidelberg tied to the outbreak. Many of the cases appear resistant to antibiotic treatments.
The CDC reported 42 percent of victims were hospitalized. That figure is about double the normal rate and because many victims are resistant to antibiotics, the CDC is saying this outbreak is considerably more dangerous than previous outbreaks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a letter to Foster Farms addressing the public health concerns at hand. USDA inspectors had documented "fecal material on carcasses" along with "poor sanitary dressing practices, insanitary food contact surfaces, insanitary nonfood contact surfaces and direct product contamination."
The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA said the affected meat came from one of three plants and bears establishment numbers P6137, P6137A or P7632.