Minimizing the risk of Campylobacter and Salmonella illnesses associated with chicken liver

Good luck with that.

Most people undercook chicken liver because they follow food porn bullshit on cooking shows (yes, we did that research 15 years ago, see below

FSIS is issuing this guideline to promote a reduction in pathogens in raw chicken liver products and to promote thorough cooking of these products.

Similar to other raw poultry products, chicken liver can be contaminated with pathogens such as Campylobacter and Salmonella. Surface contamination can result from insanitary dressing procedures, as well as from the processing environment.

In addition to surface contamination, chicken liver can contain pathogens internally, even when chickens are dressed in a sanitary manner. Studies have demonstrated the presence of Campylobacter in the internal tissue of between 10% and 90% of tested chicken livers after the external surface was sanitized (Boukraa et al., 1991; Barot et al., 1983; Baumgartner et al., 1995; Firlieyanti et al., 2016; Whyte et al., 2006). Additionally, researchers have detected Campylobacter and Salmonella in the liver of chickens previously free of these pathogens after experimental oral inoculation (Chaloner et al., 2014; Knudsen et al., 2006; Sanyal et al., 1984; Borsoi et al., 2009; Gast et al., 2013; He et al., 2010). Pathogens are thought to spread from the intestine to the internal liver tissue via the biliary, lymphatic, or vascular systems, although the exact route is unclear.

Some recipes for chicken liver dishes, such as pâté, instruct the preparer to only partially cook the liver (e.g., by searing). Partial cooking may kill pathogens on the external surface, but will likely not kill all pathogens in the internal tissue. Any internal pathogens that survive in products made from inadequately cooked chicken liver could make consumers sick. Inadequate cooking was a contributing factor in many of the reported illness outbreaks associated with chicken liver.

The main message for food preparers at retail food outlets and foodservice entities and at home is that chicken liver dishes, like all poultry products, should be consumed only after being cooked throughout to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer (Food Code,3-401.11).

That’s a little clearer than piping fucking hot, UK idiots.

For food safety reasons, this should be done regardless of preferences. In addition, with respect to storage, FSIS recommends using chicken liver within one to two days if stored in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below, or within three to four months if frozen at 0 °F or below.

 Mathiasen, L.A., Chapman, B.J., Lacroix, B.J. and Powell, D.A. 2004. 

Spot the mistake: Television cooking shows as a source of food safety information, Food Protection Trends 24(5): 328-334.

Consumers receive information on food preparation from a variety of sources. Numerous studies conducted over the past six years demonstrate that television is one of the primary sources for North Americans. This research reports on an examination and categorization of messages that television food and cooking programs provide to viewers about preparing food safely. During June 2002 and 2003, television food and cooking programs were recorded and reviewed, using a defined list of food safety practices based on criteria established by Food Safety Network researchers. Most surveyed programs were shown on Food Network Canada, a specialty cable channel. On average, 30 percent of the programs viewed were produced in Canada, with the remainder produced in the United States or United Kingdom. Sixty hours of content analysis revealed that the programs contained a total of 916 poor food-handling incidents. When negative food handling behaviors were compared to positive food handling behaviors, it was found that for each positive food handling behavior observed, 13 negative behaviors were observed. Common food safety errors included a lack of hand washing, cross-contamination and time-temperature violations. While television food and cooking programs are an entertainment source, there is an opportunity to improve their content so as to promote safe food handling.

Blame celebrity chefs and lack of thermometer use: Campy increases in undercooked chicken livers

In the United Kingdom, outbreaks of Campylobacter infection are increasingly attributed to undercooked chicken livers, yet many recipes, including those of top chefs, advocate short cooking times and serving livers pink.

chicken-liver-pate-2During 2015, we studied preferences of chefs and the public in the United Kingdom and investigated the link between liver rareness and survival of Campylobacter. We used photographs to assess chefs’ ability to identify chicken livers meeting safe cooking guidelines.

To investigate the microbiological safety of livers chefs they preferred to serve, we modeled Campylobacter survival in infected chicken livers cooked to various temperatures. Most chefs correctly identified safely cooked livers but overestimated the public’s preference for rareness and thus preferred to serve them more rare.

We estimated that 19%–52% of livers served commercially in the United Kingdom fail to reach 70°C and that predicted Campylobacter survival rates are 48%–98%. These findings indicate that cooking trends are linked to increasing Campylobacter infections.

Restaurant cooking trends and increased risk for Camplyobacter infection

Emerging Infectious Disease Journal, Volume 22, Number 7, July 2016, DOI: 10.3201/eid2207.151775

A.K. Jones, D. Rigby, M. Burton, C. Millman, N.J. Williams, T.R. Jones, P. Wigley, S.J. O’Brien, P. Cross

From food safety infosheets to food safety infographics: Can your pâté make you sick?

The concept behind food safety infosheets is to take recent foodborne illness media coverage, and relevant evidence, and provide it to food handlers in a nice package. At first, they were text heavy, boring and weren’t very good. After a couple of years of refinement food safety infosheets turned into tool resulting in measured changes in practices.

If you’re doing the same stuff for 10 years without changing, you’re probably doing the wrong thing.

That’s kind of where we’ve been at with food safety infosheets for the past year. After making a couple of hundred of them we decided the format was getting old and tired. Katrina Levine joined the crew and put some renewed enthusiasm into the storytelling devices – and also suggested that we start making infographics.

After looking at our own lack of skill and capabilities we sought an outside partnership with New Mexico State University Media Productions. They get us; and do fabulous work.

Here’s the first food safety infographic that tells the story of last week’s outbreak of Campylobacter linked to undercooked chicken livers.

Download a pdf of the infographic here.


Six cases of campylobacteriosis linked to chicken liver

Food safety infosheet highlights:

-At least 6 people who consumed raw or undercooked chicken livers, mostly chicken liver pâté have been infected with Campylobacter in Washington and Oregon.Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 6.57.43 PM

– A recent study found that about 77% of raw chicken livers are contaminated with Campylobacter.

– Multiple outbreaks of Campylobacter infections linked to chicken livers have been reported in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Click here to download.

6 sick in campy outbreak linked to chicken liver pate; high-end restaurants mortified, 1 sick from pills

In a follow-up to the news of a Campylobacter outbreak centered in Oregon, Lynne Terry of The Oregonian quotes Dr. Katrina Hedberg, state epidemiologist in Oregon, as saying restaurants and stores supplied with the product are “mortified” and that one of the six sick people actually consumed chicken liver pills.

Terry reports that in all cases, the chicken livers were processed at Draper Valley Farms in Vernon, Wash., and the processor sold them raw to restaurants and stores, which turned chicken-liver-pate-2them into pate.

“You have to cook it through and through, just like chicken or ground beef,” Hedberg said.

Draper Valley did not issue a recall. Under U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, processors are allowed to sell chicken livers tainted with a high level of campylobacter. In fact, one study showed that 77 percent are contaminated with the bacteria.

“This is a high-risk food,” Hedberg said.

Consumers as critical control point: 190 sickened in multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to kosher broiled chicken livers

I don’t know who eats broiled chicken livers, but enough people do that 190 of them got sick in six states since April 2011, from Salmonella Heidelberg in the partially-cooked product.

The outbreak is another talking point in the point-the-finger approach to foodborne illness: dumb consumers, you should read the labels and know these thingies need to be fully cooked. And watch the cross-contamination.

• A total of 190 illnesses due to Salmonella Heidelberg with the outbreak pattern were reported from 6 states.
• The number of ill persons identified in each state the product is distributed to is as follows: New York (109), New Jersey (62), Pennsylvania (10), Maryland (6), Ohio (2), and Minnesota (1).
• Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that a product labeled as “kosher broiled chicken livers” is the source of this outbreak.
• Contaminated "kosher broiled chicken livers" were recalled from grocery stores but may still be in consumers’ homes.
• Among persons for whom information is available in in these states, ill persons ranged in age from <1 to 97 years with a median age of 14 years. Forty-nine percent were female. Among the 154 ill persons with available information, 30 (19%) were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

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. How the hell would anyone know?

CDC: Multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to kosher broiled chicken livers from Schreiber Processing

 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.

At least 169 sicken by salmonella in chicken livers

CIDRAP at the University of Minnesota has done the math and figures at least 169 people in five states have been sickened by Salmonella Heidelberg in broiled chicken liver products recalled by Schreiber Processing Corp., based in Maspeth, N.Y.

The products appear to be ready to eat but are partially cooked and need to be fully cooked before eaten. Illnesses have also been linked to chopped liver made from the product and sold at retail stores.

Where’s the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in all this?

OMG, Brits recommend time and temp to control campy in chicken liver, piping hot not enough

A month after Eurosurveillance reported on an outbreak of campylobacter associated with chicken liver parfait served in Scotland in June, the U.K. Food Standards Agency is reminding caterers to make sure chicken liver is cooked thoroughly.

Data provided by the Health Protection Agency shows that 11 of the 15 outbreaks of campylobacter recorded this year at catering premises (such as restaurants and hotels) were linked to consuming poultry liver parfait or pâté.

The majority of the outbreaks associated with pâté or parfait, products between 2005 and 2010, have been at catering establishments and involved products prepared on-site as opposed to purchased ready-made.

FSA says that poultry liver carries a high risk of campylobacter contamination if not cooked enough as the bacteria can be present throughout the liver. The Food Standards Agency is therefore reminding caterers to make sure chicken livers are handled hygienically and cooked thoroughly when used in products such as pâté or parfait.

Some recipes indicate that searing chicken liver is enough to kill any bacteria. However, food safety experts at the Agency advise that chicken liver must be cooked all the way through and not just seared. Campylobacter can be present throughout the liver, not just on the surface.

The Agency advises that liver, kidneys, and other types of offal should be handled hygienically to avoid cross-contamination and cooked thoroughly until they are steaming hot all the way through. The centre should reach a temperature of 70°C for two minutes or the equivalent time and temperature.

The equivalent heat treatments are:

* 65°C for 10 minutes
* 70°C for 2 minutes
* 75°C for 30 seconds
* 80°C for 6 seconds.

FSA couldn’t help itself, reverting to old habits by referring to ‘steaming hot,’ but at least they published some times and temperatures. But with all those PhDs, FSA can do better. Recommend using a tip-sensitive digital thermometer, publish pictures showing how to temp a liver parfait, and tell everyone, Stick It In.