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AK Beat: Beware of salmonella from chicken sold in Alaska

Aaron Jansen illustration

Beware of chicken, food safety officials warn: Chicken products in Alaska are under recall after recent salmonella cases were linked to a larger 278-person outbreak from contaminated chicken in a total of 18 states, according to a Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation announcement on Wednesday. The recall is for Foster Farms poultry bearing the USDA inspection numbers P6137, P6137A or P7632. "These products may have been distributed to Alaska," said Kimberly Stryker, state food safety program manager, in a written statement. "Alaska has reported 14 cases with a direct link to this outbreak." Salmonella can cause severe stomach and intestinal problems and most seriously harms the elderly, the young and those with compromised immune systems, the DEC said. Anyone eating poultry should keep it separate from other food, cook it to at least 165 degrees and wash hands and other surfaces the poultry contacts.

Federal shutdown causing bear of a problem: Add bear trouble to the growing list of problems caused by last week’s federal government shutdown.  In the White Mountains National Recreation Area – a 1 million acre federally controlled swath of land 30 miles north of Fairbanks – garbage is attracting bears to trailheads and campgrounds. The area is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, which, unlike the National Park Service, is allowing people to use its lands during the shutdown. But the federal stalemate means there is no one to empty now-overflowing trash cans.  The normally bear-proof cans have become a feasting ground for area bears.  The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that BLM Ranger Johnathon Priday worried the bears will become habituated to people because of the easy food – potentially leading to a nasty encounter between a camper and a bruin.

Nova Scotia First Nations decry albino moose hunt: Aboriginal community leaders in Nova Scotia are frustrated hunters near the village of Belle Cote killed a sacred white moose last week. The Mi'kmaq people have known about the albino moose in the region for almost 500 years, but don't kill the moose because of their cultural significance. Despite the outcry, hunting the moose -- a partial albino according to biologists -- is legal according to the CBC. Albino moose are rare, though one has been seen near Delta Junction in recent years. Last year the famous ungulate was spotted with a regularly colored calf in tow.

Walk to school safely: Today is International Walk to School Day, but most kids in Alaska's largest city won't. Why? Because much of Anchorage isn't very well designed for walking anywhere by anyone. The municipality does have a Safe Routes to Schools Manual, however, and there are those in the community trying to promote the old-fashioned and healthy transportation that used to take most kids to and from school. Fed Ex, the corporate shipping giant, Safe Kids Alaska, and representatives from the Anchorage School District, Alaska Injury Prevention Center, University of Alaska School of Nursing, Alaska Safe Routes to School, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Anchorage Fire Department, and Anchorage Police Department planned to walk to some schools with students today to "encourage safe pedestrian behavior, promote driver awareness of pedestrians, and educate students regarding the importance of reflective clothing," according to an advisory from the Providence Alaska Medical Center. Providence and FedEx are also pushing reflective safety clothing for kids so drivers can spot them quickly in the dark. Visibility is more important than ever with a significant number of American drivers now confessing they are regularly texting on their cell phones instead of paying full attention to what's ahead on the road.