NEW YORK (PIX11)—A massive recall of broiled chicken liver was issued Wednesday after the New York City Health Department identified 56 cases of Salmonella bacteria-related illness in New York City that are linked to eating the product.
The product, identified as MealMart brand kosher broiled chicken livers from the Schreiber Processing Corporation, were not cooked properly, the health department determined.
Officials warn that even though the products are labeled as "broiled" and may appear cooked, chicken livers from the manufacturer are not thoroughly cooked and should not be eaten unless they are cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Salmonella illness has also been linked to chopped liver made from this uncooked product, health officials said. Chopped liver made by the consumer after purchasing this product should also be fully cooked before consuming or discarded. Cases of illness have also been identified in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Minnesota.
MealMart issued the massive recall Wednesday and has since fully-cooperated with the Health Department's investigation. The New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets and Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service have collaborated with the NYC Health Department to identify cases of illness associated with this Salmonella Heidelberg strain, a common bacteria associated with food poisoning in humans.
The Health Department recognized a pattern of people reporting that they ate kosher broiled chicken livers or chopped liver before their illness began and this past week confirmed that the cases of Salmonella Heidelberg identified during the period of February through November 2011 had a common DNA "fingerprint."
According to officials, of the 56 people who were diagnosed with infection from this Salmonella strain, 12 were hospitalized. This Salmonella strain has been found in samples of kosher broiled chicken livers and in samples of chopped liver made from the same broiled chicken liver produced by MealMart Company in Maspeth, N.Y.
Though consumers reported that they believed the product to be fully cooked, it is not safe to eat without additional cooking.
For specific retailers that sell these products and other establishments associated with this outbreak within these communities, visit the Salmonella outbreak link on the NYC Health Department's website. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has also posted information about this recall on the USDA website.