Not just a UK problem and naturopaths are nuts: Campylobacteriosis outbreak associated with consuming undercooked chicken liver pâté — Ohio and Oregon, December 2013–January 2014

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that on January 8, 2014, the Ohio Department of Health notified the Oregon Public Health Division (OPHD) of campylobacteriosis in two Ohio residents recently returned from Oregon.

pate.beet.dp.mar.12The travelers reported consuming chicken liver pâté* at an Oregon restaurant. On January 10, OPHD received additional reports of campylobacteriosis in two persons who had consumed chicken liver pâté at another Oregon restaurant. Campylobacter jejuni was isolated in cultures of fecal specimens from three patients. OPHD investigated to determine the sources of the illnesses and to institute preventive measures.

Both restaurants reported using undercooked chicken livers to prepare their pâté; an environmental health investigation revealed that the livers were purchased from the same U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)–regulated establishment in the state of Washington. The establishment reported that livers were rinsed with a chlorine solution before packaging. However, culture of five of nine raw liver samples from both restaurants and from the establishment yielded C. jejuni; none of three pâté samples from the restaurants yielded C. jejuni. One human stool specimen and three liver samples were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE); the human isolate and one liver sample had indistinguishable PFGE patterns when digested by the restriction enzyme SmaI. The human isolate was susceptible to all antimicrobials tested by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System.

A presumptive case was defined as diarrhea lasting >2 days, within 7 days after consumption of undercooked chicken liver; a confirmed case was defined as laboratory evidence of C. jejuni infection within 7 days after consumption of undercooked chicken liver. In all, three laboratory-confirmed and two presumptive cases of campylobacteriosis following consumption of chicken livers were reported in Ohio and Oregon. Illness onsets ranged from December 24, 2013, to January 17, 2014. Patient age range was 31–76 years; three were women. Based on OPHD’s recommendation, both restaurants voluntarily stopped serving liver. The FSIS-regulated establishment also voluntarily stopped selling chicken livers.

This is the second multistate outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with consumption of undercooked chicken liver reported in the United States (1). Outbreaks caused by chicken liver pâté are well documented in Europe (2,3). Chicken livers and pâté should be considered inherently risky foods, given the methods by which they are routinely prepared. Pâté made with chicken liver is often undercooked to preserve texture. Consumers might be unable to discern whether pâté is cooked thoroughly because partially cooked livers might be blended with other ingredients and chilled. At FSIS-regulated establishments, such as the one involved in this outbreak, livers are inspected to ensure that they are free from visible signs of disease, but they are not required to be free from bacteria (4). A recent study isolated Campylobacter from 77% of chicken livers cultured (5). Washing is insufficient to render chicken livers safe for consumption; they should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

barfblog.Stick It InDuring the outbreak investigation, OPHD learned of a campylobacteriosis case in a Washington state resident who had eaten raw chicken livers that had been chopped into pill-sized pieces and frozen, as prescribed by a naturopathic physician. The livers were from the same establishment that supplied the Oregon restaurants. No isolate from the case was available for subtyping, but culture of frozen pieces of liver collected from this patient yielded C. jejuni.

This report illustrates that follow-up of possible outbreaks identified by routine interviewing by health departments can identify sources of illnesses and result in control measures that protect public health. Campylobacter is thought to be the most common bacterial cause of diarrheal illness in the United States (6), and infection is now nationally notifiable.

1Oregon Public Health Division; 2Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC; 3Washington State Department of Health; 4Ohio Department of Health (Corresponding author: Magdalena K. Scott, magdalena.k.scott@state.or.us, 971-673-1111)

References

CDC. Multistate outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni infections associated with undercooked chicken livers—northeastern United States, 2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2013;62:874–6.

O’Leary MC, Harding O, Fisher L, Cowden J. A continuous common-source outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with changes to the preparation of chicken liver pâté. Epidemiol Infect 2009;137:383–8.

Little CL, Gormley FJ, Rawal N, Richardson JF. A recipe for disaster: outbreaks of campylobacteriosis associated with poultry liver pâté in England and Wales. Epidemiol Infect 2010;138:1691–4.

Food Safety and Inspection Service, US Department of Agriculture. Giblets and food safety. Available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/poultry-preparation/giblets-and-food-safety/ct_index.

Noormohamed A, Fakhr MK. Incidence and antimicrobial resistance profiling of Campylobacter in retail chicken livers and gizzards. Foodborne Pathog Dis 2012;9:617–24.

Scallan E, Hoekstra RM, Angulo FJ, et al. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States—major pathogens. Emerg Infect Dis 2011;17:7–15.

* A spreadable paste made from cooked ground meat (often poultry livers) combined with various other ingredients.

What’s worrying is no one said thermometer: cooking all the way through doesn’t cut it

Australians under 34 don’t know enough about how to safely handle food to avoid food poisoning, according to a report card by the Food Safety Information Council.

barfblog.Stick It InThe 18 to 34 year olds didn’t do as well compared to over 50s on knowledge of food safety, a survey found.

Only 73% of the younger group know to cook hamburgers all the way through compared with 84% for over 50s.

The younger crowd know (87%) to cook sausages all the way, although 93% of the over 50s are masters at the BBQ.

Only half (59%) of the younger group know to refrigerate chicken dishes straight away compared with 72% of over 50s.

Oh dear: USDA is now using steaming hot as a scientific standard

Robber’s Roost Jerky, an Ellensburg, Wash., establishment, is recalling approximately 4 pounds of ready-to-eat smoked beef and pork pepper stick jerky product that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

beefjerky406The problem was discovered by the company after a sample from the cutting board used in preparation of the product returned a positive test result for Listeria monocytogenes. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illness due to consumption of this product.

 FSIS advises all consumers to reheat ready-to-eat product until steaming hot.

I use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer on shrimp; the variation is fascinating.

Fish edition: Gratuitous food porn shot of the day

Our friend is spending her weekends doing a business degree, and her hubby took the girls after hockey, so Amy and I got to relive the many reasons we initially got together 10 years ago and cooked dinner for our friends.

Sorenne ate the trout (she thought it was salmon because of the color, I didn’t argue) and her friend devoured the barramundi. Temperature-verified 145F.

fish.mar.15

Boy Scouts avoid liability in E. coli lawsuit

I was shocked and shamed about a month ago when we were invited to dinner at the home of other hockey parents.

thermometers.feb.15I normally carry a spare Cormark PTD 300 tip-sensitive digital thermometer in my knapsack, but had donated the spare to Sorenne’s school the day before and forgot to replenish the stash (thanks, Chapman, for providing more).

I felt naked not being able to probe the pork roast, especially when our hosts asked for a demonstration.

Dr. food safety was Dr. fail.

Apparently the Boy Scouts of America don’t care about such things either.

Harrison King, then 14, was among more than 80 campers who became ill after a 2008 gathering at a sprawling Boy Scout camp in Rockbridge County. King suffered brain damage as a result of his illness, according to his lawsuit.

A Virginia Department of Health report concluded the outbreak was caused in part by undercooked ground beef.

amy.thermometer.05King sued both the Boy Scouts and the company that sold ground beef used at Camp Goshen. He claimed the meat supply was tainted and the Boy Scouts failed to ensure the meat was properly cooked.

U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon first ruled in November that the Boy Scouts were entitled to charitable immunity in King v. S&S Foods LLC, Boy Scouts of America (VLW 014-3-618).

At the time, Moon left the case open for the parties to explore whether there was evidence of gross negligence that would allow King’s claim to proceed against the Boy Scouts.

Based on evidence that the Boy Scout regional unit had provided guidance on the proper cooking of so-called “foil dinners” and on safe food handling generally, Moon rejected the allegations of gross negligence. He dismissed the Boy Scouts and the BSA regional unit on March 20 in King v. S&S Foods LLC (VLW 015-3-142).

Take a thermometer.

 

Use a thermometer, not steaming hot: Bad government advice paid by taxpayers in UK and Aus

The taxpayer funded bullshit is below, even though the US and Canada say, use a damn thermometer, because color is a lousy indicator. The science is clear on this issue.

bites.stick.it.inThe UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is reminding people to take care when preparing and cooking burgers at home.

Steve Wearne, Director of Food Policy, at the FSA, said: ‘The most important thing to remember is to cook your burgers so they are steaming hot all the way through, that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear.”

And in Australia, Safe Food Queensland endorsed a fact sheet from Queensland Health that stated, “Make sure to cook chicken thoroughly so that there is no pink meat and the juices run clear.”

Fail.

Stick it in and use a tip sensitive digital thermometer.

Thermometers, they aren’t just for omnivores

That’s what I told Lydia Zuraw of Food Safety News when she and I spoke last week about my favorite kitchen tool, the tip-sensitive digital thermometer (below, exactly as shown). We chatted about cold spots, microwaving and checking internal temperatures in multiple spots.

I also told her that my very first thermometer came as a gift from the infamous Pete Snyder. It was during the testing of food safety infosheets and Pete had been providing feedback on specific kinds of thermometers and why. And Pete’s suggestions came with publications and references. One day my very own Comark PDT 300 showed up unannounced in the mail.231-xx7_z_a

 

“It’s a tool just like a frying pan,” says Benjamin Chapman, associate professor of food safety at North Carolina State University. “The more you cook, the more investment you put into your tools.”

As for dial thermometers, or bi-metallic stems, they’re “not great tools,” Chapman says. “They’re fine in a jam, but they do have to be calibrated.”246609-meatthermometers-comark-pdt300digital

They also aren’t as precise – as the dial provides an average temperature between the tip and a dimple, sometimes an inch away. That makes me nervous as the surface of a thick piece of meat may be 20 or 30 degrees warmer than an inch inside.

Cyclones, rain, and temperature-verified steak

During a morning of unrelenting and ongoing cyclone-related rain (yes, Brisbane gets weather too, not just Mass.) hockey skating and Chapman embarrassingly wearing a Leafs jersey (although my kid had one on this a.m., but Chapman should know better), I decided, why not barbeque for lunch.

145 F, rested for 10 minutes.

steak.rain.feb.15

Less talking, more doing: Horrible hygiene humbles Australian MKR duo Gina and Anna

My Kitchen Rules is Australian food porn.

According to Rebekah Carter of the Australian Institute of Food Safety, social media was just one of the locations to receive an outpouring of disgusted comments recently after mother-daughter duo Anna and Gina demonstrated a number of food safety faux pas on “My Kitchen Rules.”

mkr.ann.ginaThe first couple to be eliminated, Anna and Gina from Canberra made a dramatic exit from the popular television show. However, the response that followed their departure was even more striking.

Fans of the reality TV cooking contest flocked to the radio and grabbed their keyboards to express comments suggesting that the show’s contestants were in desperate need of some “lessons in kitchen hygiene”.

Alongside rejecting gloves for her Band-Aid covered fingers, viewers reeled at the image of contestant Gina double-dipping her spoon in the soup. One fan called into the Kyle and Jackie O breakfast show with the phrase “would you like some saliva with that?”

Meanwhile, the official Facebook page for My Kitchen Rules was over-run with queasy comments. Kelly Cockshell wrote “I’m sorry, but you don’t put the spoon back in after you taste test that is gross!!”

Kayla Dean commented “All teams before they start need to go through a health and hygiene course.”

And Robyn Champion agreed, saying “OMG no wonder the ragout tastes bad… did you see all that double dipping going on! Send them home!!!”