Poultry liver pate still main cause of Campylobacter outbreaks
An increase in the number of general outbreaks of Campylobacter infections associated with consumption of poultry liver pâté/parfait prepared and served at hotels and restaurants has been reported in recent years and this increase has continued in 2011.
Similarly, laboratory confirmed cases of infection with campylobacter in England and Wales have also continued to increase. Despite almost 63,000 laboratory confirmed cases reported during 2010, foodborne outbreaks of infections are rarely reported, usually representing around 0.1% of all cases.
Fourteen of the 18 general foodborne outbreaks of campylobacter infection reported to the HPA in 2011 – affecting 443 individuals, and including one hospitalisation – were associated with catering premises; the remainder included a community (1), school (1) and care homes (2).
Thirteen (93%) of the outbreaks at catering premises were linked to poultry liver parfait or pâté consumption (11 prepared from chicken livers and two from duck livers).
Seven of the outbreaks were linked to catering at wedding receptions (at hotels, banqueting venues or public houses), six associated with catering at other functions (at hotels, clubs and restaurants).
Bob Martin, head of foodborne disease strategy at the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘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 to their customers.’
See below for our advice following last year’s outbreaks: Are chefs preparing pate properly? SFS News August 2010