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.

Use a thermometer: 21 sickened: Campy in UK liver pate, again

Yorkshire Coast Radio reports Diversorium Ltd, the company which owns and operates the Downe Arms, a country inn hotel in Wykeham near Scarborough, has been fined £8,000 for two serious food hygiene related offences after an outbreak of Campylobacter food poisoning was traced back to contaminated chicken liver pate eaten at the hotel.

Following a prosecution by Scarborough Borough Council, Diversorium Ltd pleaded guilty at Scarborough Magistrates Court to two offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations after 21 people fell ill following a Christmas party night on 17 December 2016 and a Christmas break package at the hotel during the same month. The court ruled that fines of £5,000 and £3000 respectively should be paid for the offences. The company was also ordered to pay the council £2170 in costs.

The council’s Environmental Health team received complaints from those affected by the food poisoning and during the subsequent investigation it was apparent that there were a number of issues which were not consistent with good hygiene practices and food safety management records were incomplete. In particular, the process for preparing the chicken liver pate had not been validated by appropriate temperature monitoring and recording, and food safety was not being managed effectively. The extensive investigation, carried out in conjunction with Public Health England, concluded that the pate was the most probable cause of the illness. The business was subsequently marked down to a food hygiene rating of 1 (major improvement necessary).

Australian recall notices continue to suck: Listeria in pate

Once again: It only takes a few hundred times for things to sink in with the bureaucracy protecting public health in Australia.

list.pateNot the front-line workers, but the plutocracy in suits, fretting about their pensions, golden handshakes, and whether their kids will go to the best schools to meet the right people.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand says Just Entrees Pty Ltd has recalled Brandy Port and Sage Pate, Cracked Pepper Pate and Chicken Liver Pate from Coles in NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC, TAS and NT due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

How was the Liseriai detected and by whom? Is anyone sick?

These are basics that are usually covered in U.S. and Canadian press notices written by highly paid press thingies.

Not so in Australia, diving for the lowest common denominator.

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.

26 sick; NZ food poisonings spur liver preparation alert

Following a spate of liver-pate-linked campylobacter illnesses in the UK, the colonies are now reaching out to locals as New Zealand grapples with more than two dozen cases of food poisoning in Wellington.

Campylobacter was found in undercooked poultry and lamb’s liver, Margot McLean of Regional Public Health said.

Twenty-six cases of campylobacter, linked to eating liver, had been reported to public health officials in the past year. That figure was likely to be conservative, as they received detailed information on less than a third of campylobacter cases, Dr McLean said.

Microbiological wannabe Jacob Brown, chef at Miramar’s The Larder, said he hoped the public health warning would not put people off eating liver.

Overcooking it was “criminal”, as it became tough and grainy, and that any liver that was looked after correctly once it was removed from the animal should be fine.

The story goes on to say, “Cook liver in small batches for at least five minutes until juices are clear.”

Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer, and I’d say 165F to eliminate Campylobacter. Color is a lousy indicator.

Failures abound as hotel fined for sickening wedding guests with Campylobacter via undercooked chicken pate

The fancy-pants Letchworth Hall Hotel in Hertfordshire, U.K., near London, was ordered to pay more than £12,000 after pleading guilty to two charges of poor food hygiene practice on Friday.

Hertford Magistrates’ Court heard that 49 of the 118 guests at the hotel in Letchworth Lane who had eaten a chicken liver pate starter had reported illness after the meal in September 2011.

Subsequently 22 cases of a Campylobacter infection were confirmed, including the bride and groom who both became ill while on honeymoon in Las Vegas. Symptoms of the infection included stomach cramps and diarrhea.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) received the initial complaint five days after the wedding on September 8 and two environmental health officers visited the hotel to investigate.

The officers established that the chef had cooked the chicken livers to 60 degrees C, in breach of hotel policy and Food Standards Agency guidance which recommends a temperature of 75 degrees C to prevent food poisoning.

Letchworth Hall Hotel admitted undercooking the pate, rendering it unsafe for human consumption, and failing to ensure the kitchen followed the company food safety policy and procedures, including a failure of management to uphold those procedures.

Blame the consumer or chef, Scottish-style; campylobacter found in 80% of chicken liver packs; just cook it

Following a spate of campylobacter outbreaks linked to chicken liver paté in the U.K., researchers at Aberdeen University found the bug in more than 80 per cent of packs of chicken liver paté bought from supermarkets and butchers during a two-year survey.

The cites Dr Norval Strachan, the researcher in food safety and epidemiology who led the study, as saying the bug had been found in 81 per cent of raw chicken livers purchased from a typical range of supermarkets and butchers over a two-year period. “… last year 14 outbreaks of the bug in the UK were associated with consumers eating chicken or duck liver paté. By cooking the livers properly and ensuring good hygiene in the kitchen these episodes can be avoided. However, some celebrity chefs and many recipes advocate only partially cooking chicken liver to ensure that it is pink in the middle.”

Dr Jacqui McElhiney, policy adviser at the Food Standards Agency in Scotland, underlined the need for proper precautions to be taken to prevent the risk of food poisoning.

“Unfortunately, levels of campylobacter in raw chicken are high, so it’s really important that chefs thoroughly cook chicken livers fully to kill any bacteria, until there is no pinkness left in the centre, even if recipes call for them to be seared and left pink in the middle. “It’s the only way of ensuring the paté will be safe to serve.”

This is all sorta confusing: researchers found 80 per cent of raw chicken liver contaminated with campylobacter, but said they were looking at packs of chicken liver pate at supermarkets. But the food safety folks blame celebrity chefs? Do they make pre-packaged pate? Are consumers supposed to cook paté they buy pre-packaged at the supermarket? Guess they were talking about raw liver. So then what about the risk of cross-contamination. Maybe something is lost in translation; I speak Scottish as fluently as Australian.

And pinkness is a lousy indicator of whether any meat has been cooked to reduce dangerous bacteria such as campylobacter. So is piping hot.

Careful with that chicken pate; significant source of campylobacter in UK

Campylobacter is usually number 1 or 2 when it comes to causes of foodborne illness, so I’m having trouble with the lede from the BBC that claims over 90 per cent of cases of campy in the U.K. this year were due to people eating undercooked chicken liver pate, often at weddings.

The Daily Mirror specifies that 90 per cent of outbreaks of campylobacter at catering venues in 2011 were linked to people eating chicken pate.

I have no idea what the U.K. Health Protection Agency (HPA) actually said because there is nothing on their website yet, although they apparently analyzed 18 outbreaks of campylobacter in 2011 across England.

In all, 443 people became unwell and one had to be hospitalised.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reminded caterers to cook poultry livers to prevent infection.

Of the 18 outbreaks, 14 occurred in catering venues, and 13 of these were linked to chicken or duck liver pate.

Seven were linked to wedding receptions at hotels, banqueting venues or public houses and six were associated with catering at other functions such as hotels, clubs and restaurants.

The HPA found that livers used to make the parfait or pate were undercooked allowing the liver to remain pink in the center.

The FSA issued updated advice to caterers on the safe handling and cooking of livers twice in 2010, but campylobacter outbreaks associated with the consumption of chicken liver pate have continued to occur.

Last week, some 80 patrons nibbling on hors d’oeuvres during a fundraiser at the fancy Lowry Hotel in Manchester were sickened with campylobacter linked to the chicken pate.

Maybe FSA should try different messages using different media, and perhaps evaluate if any of their advisories actually result in fewer sick people.

PS: The Food Standards Agency subsequently published a statement that says:

New figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) reveal that 90% of campylobacter outbreaks at catering venues were linked to undercooked chicken liver pate. Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK.”

Nice reporting BBC (state-sponsored jazz and bad pop music).