The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced a recall that affects "an undetermined amount of broiled chicken liver products."
The products have been linked to a number of people becoming ill with salmonella poisoning in localized areas of New York and New Jersey.
The chicken liver recall, announced on Nov. 8 by FSIS, said that Schreiber Processing Corporation, based out of Maspeth, N.Y., is conducting the recall.
FSIS reports the products affected are packaged as follows:
• 10 lb. boxes with two, 5 lb. bags of "Meal Mart Broiled Chicken Liver; Made for Further Thermal Processing"
• 10 lb. boxes of loose packed "Chicken Liver Broiled"
Each bag or box packaging of the chicken livers bears the establishment number "P-787" inside the USDA mark of inspection.
MSNBC reports nearly 170 people have been sickened with salmonella in connection to the tainted chicken livers. Salmonella Heidelberg is the specified salmonella bacteria found to be tainting the chicken livers, and this is reported to be a common foodborne pathogen.
FSIS indicated the packages were marked 'broiled' and appeared to be packaged as 'ready-to-eat', however the product was actually only partially cooked.
According to an Associated Press report (courtesy of Wall Street Journal), the broiling is performed to properly remove blood in accordance with kosher dietary law.
Schreiber Processing Corporation's quality control manager, Mordechai Milworn, said the product needs to be cooked thoroughly as the instructions on the box outline.
"It must be prepared before it makes its way to the consumer," he said, adding that because of the "mishandling" they would revamp the product. "We certainly will not send it out as it is. In all probability we will send it out fully cooked."
Salmonella related illnesses are taken seriously as the sickness can result in be life-threatening in some instances. Children, elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Common symptoms associated with infection are diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever, sometimes including vomiting, headache and chills. If one is infected, symptoms usually appear within six to 72 hours after exposure.
This recall is listed as a CLASS I RECALL and is categorized as HEALTH RISK: HIGH according to FSIS.
This investigation is ongoing according to the FSIS website. FSIS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) while the agencies examine the situation. One concern associated with this recall being monitored is it is currently unknown if this salmonella strain is drug-resistant. FSIS has said if any findings of drug resistance becomes known, the information will be made public.
Additionally the affected product was distributed to additional retail stores and institutional users in Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Rhode Island. FSIS has said the agency will update information on the agency's recall section of the website when additional distribution information becomes available.