Caterers are being warned to cook chicken liver thoroughly after an increased number of campylobacter food poisoning outbreaks in the last year.
Data provided by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that 11 of the 15 outbreaks recorded this year at catering premises were linked to consuming poultry liver parfait or pâté.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued the warning following the HPA report that found the majority of outbreaks associated with chicken liver parfait or pâté products were prepared on site at catering establishments as opposed to purchased ready-made.
The FSA said that poultry liver carries a high risk of campylobacter contamination if not cooked enough as the bacteria can be present throughout the liver. Some recipes indicate that searing chicken liver is enough to kill any bacteria, however food safety experts at the FSA advise against this.
It said that liver, kidneys and other types of offal should be handled hygienically to avoid cross-contamination and that the centre should reach a temperature of 70°C for two minutes or the equivalent time and temperature. The equivalent heat treatments are:
â- 70Â°C for 2 minutes
â- 75Â°C for 30 seconds
â- 80Â°C for 6 seconds
The most recent figures suggest that 65% of shop-bought chicken is contaminated with campylobacter and the bug is responsible for more than 300,000 cases of food poisoning and 15,000 admissions to hospital a year in England and Wales.
By Janie Stamford
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