Council issues Christmas chicken liver alert

Posted On 08 Dec 2010 at 11:51 am

Brighton and Hove restaurants are being warned to cook their chicken livers thoroughly following an increase in food poisoning from liver pate.

The city council will be writing to about a dozen restaurants on the advice of the Health Protection Agency (HPA), which is trying to reduce outbreaks of campylobacter infections.

When the HPA first noticed an increase in the number of campylobacter outbreaks, it investigated further and established a link to the consumption of chicken liver pâté/parfait mainly at restaurants.

Dr Dilys Morgan, head of gastrointestinal, emerging and zoontotic infections at the HPA, said: “It has become apparent that chicken liver pâté/parfait is being served more frequently. This product is also being promoted in Christmas recipes published in magazines and the instructions do not always stress clearly enough how very important it is to ensure that livers are cooked sufficiently to kill the campylobacter.

The public and the catering industry need to be aware that undercooking this product, i.e. allowing the centre to remain pink, can result in food poisoning. “

As part of the investigations the HPA liaised with both the Food Standards Agency who issued advice to caterers in July 2010 reminding them to cook livers thoroughly.

“The FSA is this month reissuing this advice because the number of outbreaks has not dropped, and with the Christmas season approaching, it’s important to get the message across than chicken liver products need to be cooked thoroughly.

“Food poisoning is an unpleasant experience for most people but for those with underlying health conditions it can be extremely serious.”

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