Chefs ‘risk poisoning their customers’ with flash-fried chicken livers

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Chefs ‘risk poisoning their customers’ with flash-fried chicken livers

Related tags Food safety Chicken Food standards agency

Trendy chefs who offer pâtés prepared with undercooked ‘flash-fried’ chicken livers are putting their customers at risk of food poisoning, a microbiological expert has warned.

Professor Tom Humphrey, fellow in food safety at the University of Liverpool, said that unless chicken liver is thoroughly heated through to its core for two minutes at 70°C, Campylobacter bacteria would not be inactivated and risked making those who consumed it ill.

Humphrey told last month’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food, which advises the Food Standards Agency (FSA): “There is a risk in undercooked chicken and undercooked chicken liver.”

He added: “You don’t need many Campylobacter cells inside undercooked chicken liver to make you ill.”

Rising incidence of campylobacter

One of the FSA’s targets is to stem the rising incidence of foodborne illness associated with Campylobacter in poultry. The bacteria is prevalent in chicken meat in the UK due to poor on-farm biosecurity and from cross-contamination during processing and evisceration, according to Humphrey.

Humphrey reported on research from the US, which showed that Campylobacter present in scald tanks – which are used to loosen birds’ feathers prior to plucking – could contaminate edible tissues, including liver. It is also more of an issue in birds that are acutely stressed, he warned.

“The key to Campylobacter control is biosecurity and good gut health.”

Around 12 outbreaks of campylobacteriosis associated with the consumption of Campylobacter in poultry liver pâté were reported by the Health Protection Agency last year.

Related topics Food Safety Meat, poultry & seafood

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