Maryanne Patnode from the Yakima County Health District has some advice for people who want to make a great meal with chicken. Cook it, watch for cross contamination and always wash your hands.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a public health alert for raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California after 278 people have fallen ill including some in Washington State.

Patnode says it is simply a result of not handling or cooking the chicken properly.

“Handling raw chicken is a definitely a risk situation in any kitchen and any cookware used for prepping that chicken need to be washed in hot water.”

The salmonella outbreak has spread to 18 states, though most of the illnesses have been reported in California. Several cases have been reported in the State of Washington. None so far in Yakima County.

A spokesman for Foster Farms says they believe the infections were caused by eating undercooked or improperly handled chicken so the company is not issuing a recall.