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Ag Department Investigates Hatchery After Salmonella Outbreak

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is investigating a Cincinnati poultry hatchery after several people across the state became sick. WOSU reports the illnesses are part of a multi-state Salmonella outbreak. Tests confirm that the chicks and ducklings which sickened eight Ohioans came from Mount Healthy Hatchery. Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Jen House said the hatchery supplies poultry to numerous agricultural outlets. "We do believe that some may have been purchased because of Easter, you know, baby chicks certainly are very cute. And then also we do believe that there are some people that are keeping these chicks for eggs or other purposes. But we don't really have a lot of information on how many chicks they have or exactly how they were being kept," House said. The state agriculture department said the purchases likely were made in April and May. The Ohio Department of Agriculture's Beverly Byrum said initial tests from the hatchery are negative. She said contamination could have cleared up. Byrum said the agriculture department will conduct additional analysis. "I do think that the hatchery, as all hatcheries are, is constantly evaluating their own bio-security procedures and seeing if they can do some things that would minimize the risk of spreading these Salmonella among their chicks that they would be hatching their and ultimately getting to the public," she said. Byrum warned people who raise poultry for their eggs to treat all birds as if they were infected with Salmonella. She said it is common on poultry. She suggested hand washing and keeping the birds away from food prep areas. House said some Ohioans already have recovered from their illness.