How the hell would I know?
According to CDC, those kosher broiled chicken livers appear to be ready-to-eat, but are in fact partially cooked, and therefore need to be fully cooked before eating. Consumers may have incorrectly thought the use of the word “broiled” in the label meant the chicken liver was ready-to-eat; however, these chicken livers must be fully cooked before eating.
That’s the most salient point of the CDC’s investigation into how 169 people got sick from salmonella in chicken liver thingies.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in New York, New Jersey, other states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to a kosher chicken liver product labeled as “kosher broiled chicken livers,” which is not ready-to-eat and requires further cooking before eating.
Public health investigators are using DNA fingerprints of salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. They are using data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that performs molecular surveillance of foodborne infections. Because the Salmonella Heidelberg PFGE pattern associated with this outbreak commonly occurs in the United States, some of the cases with this pattern may not be related to this outbreak. Based on the previous 5 years of reports to PulseNet, approximately 30-40 cases with the outbreak strain would be expected to be reported per month in the United States. The outbreak strain is different from another strain of Salmonella Heidelberg associated with ground turkey recalled earlier this year.
In August 2011, CDC identified a sustained increase in the number of Salmonella Heidelberg isolates with the outbreak strain reported to PulseNet from New York and New Jersey. From April 1 to November 4, 2011, a total of 157 illnesses were reported in New York (93 cases) and New Jersey (64 cases). Based on the previous 5 years of reports to PulseNet, New York and New Jersey would expect approximately 5 cases per month, but in June through August 2011, these states experienced approximately 30-40 cases a month. No significant increase in the number of illnesses above baseline was identified in other areas in the United States during this period.
Among persons for whom information is available in New York and New Jersey, illnesses began on or after March 13, 2011. Ill persons range in age from <1 to 97 years with a median age of 10 years. Fifty-two percent are female. Among the 125 ill persons with available information, 21 (17%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies linked this outbreak to eating “kosher broiled chicken livers” from Schreiber Processing Corporation (doing business as Alle Processing Corporation/MealMart Company), and chopped chicken liver prepared from this product. These “kosher broiled chicken livers” are sold at retail stores and may be used as an ingredient in other prepared foods. These products appear to be ready-to-eat, but are in fact partially cooked, and therefore need to be fully cooked before eating. Consumers may have incorrectly thought the use of the word “broiled” in the label meant the chicken liver was ready-to-eat; however, these chicken livers must be fully cooked before eating. Alle Processing Corporation/MealMart Company is cooperating in the on-going investigation.
Among 30 ill persons for whom information is available, 22 (73%) reported consuming chicken liver products in the week before their illness began. Laboratory testing conducted by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Laboratory Division identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg in samples of “kosher broiled chicken livers” and chopped liver products obtained from retail stores.