Raw and undercooked chicken livers contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria have sickened at least 5 people in Oregon and Ohio, according to Oregon health officials. All of the people sickened in the outbreak of Campylobacter infections (campylobacteriosis) reported eating undercooked or raw chicken livers, mostly in pâté. The cases in Ohio ate chicken liver pâté while visiting Oregon.

This is the second reported multistate outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with consumption of undercooked chicken liver in the United States. In that 2012 outbreak, the Virginia Department of Health linked 6 cases of campylobacteriosis to chicken livers eaten at a restaurant. Health officials collected fresh chicken livers directly from the restaurant and delivered them to the Virginia Department of Health laboratory. Tests done on the livers were postitive for Campylobacter jejuni.

The Oregon Health Authority is warning consumers that chicken livers should be considered a risky food. A recent study found up to 77 percent of chicken livers tested were positive for Campylobacter (1). Washing chicken livers will not prevent illness because the bacteria can be on the inside. To prevent illness, cook the livers to 165º F.

Although many recipes for chicken liver pâté instruct to cook until the outside is browned and the insides are still pink, that will not kill Campylobacter bacteria or other dangerous pathogens.  According to our own Linda Larsen, “beating the mixture thoroughly and adding lots of fat is what makes pâté so rich and luxuriousis”, not undercooking the livers.

Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team represent Campylobacter outbreak victims throughout the United States. They recently obtained a multimillion dollar settlement for a man who was paralyzed after drinking raw milk contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria. Our client developed a serious complication called Guillain-Barre syndrome.  You can contact Fred and his team of lawyers for a free case evaluation now.

1. Noormohamed A, Fakhr MK, Incidence and antimicrobial resistance profiling of Campylobacter in retail chicken livers and gizzards. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 2012; 9: 617–624.