Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Broiled Chicken Liver

Nov 16, 2011 | Katharina Schwan | Outbreak News

At least 170 cases of Salmonella that occurred between February and November have been linked to kosher broiled chicken liver.

After the chicken livers were identified as contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg, the producer, Schreiber Processing Corporation of Maspeth, NY, issued a recall for 10-pound boxes of MealMart broiled chicken liver and 10-pound boxes of loose packed broiled chicken liver. These items were distributed to retail establishments in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

New Jersey has reported the highest number of cases at 64, most of which occurred in Ocean County. New York City reported 56 cases, while 33 cases were reported in several upstate counties. Thus far, Maryland has reported nine cases, Pennsylvania has reported seven, and Minnesota recently identified its first case.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) revealed in a statement that consumers believed the product was fully cooked because the label advertised “broiled” chicken liver. In fact, the products were only partially cooked. In this case, the term “broiled” referred to the kosher custom of extracting blood from the meat. However, the product label did warn consumers to cook the meat thoroughly before eating.

Health officials advise consumers in any of the above-mentioned states who purchased ready-to-eat chicken liver or chopped chicken liver from a deli to discard the liver immediately and to not eat it. 

This series of Salmonella Heidelberg cases is not related to cases of the same strain from contaminated ground turkey, which HealthMap reported on in August.

The Samonella Heidelberg strain may be particularly dangerous due to its resistance to a number of antibiotics, which makes treatment more difficult. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 72 hours of consuming the contaminated food. Additional symptoms may include chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting. These may last up to a week after consuming the product.

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