Uncooked livers cause food poisoning outbreak

The food safety watchdog Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is warning people to take care when cooking chicken livers, following outbreaks of Campylobacter food poisoning.

The food poisoning is linked to dishes including pâté, where poultry liver has been undercooked.

While most people are aware of the importance of cooking chicken and turkey all the way through to prevent poisonings such as salmonella, FSANZ said some are unaware that livers should also be treated like poultry meat.

Lightly frying the surface is not enough, FSANZ says, livers need to be cooked all the way through to kill bacteria that may be present.

While cooked whole livers may be served slightly pink in the centre, they should never be bloody or look raw and should be cooked to a safe internal temperature -measured using a digital probe thermometer at 70C for at least two minutes.

To be even safer, paté can be prepared following recipes that require baking the whole dish in an oven or water bath – often at temperatures above 150C for up to two hours.

FSANZ said recent surveys of raw chicken meat in Australia found campylobacter in more than 85 per cent of samples tested.

"It’s therefore important that poultry livers are handled in a way to avoid cross-contamination and are cooked thoroughly before eating," FSANZ said.

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