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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
November 09, 2011

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

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Office of Communications
609-984-7160


 
DHSS Identifies 64 Cases of Illness from Salmonella Bacteria Associated with Eating Uncooked Kosher Chicken Meat


 

(Trenton)  The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has identified 64 cases of Salmonella bacterial infection and illness linked to eating kosher broiled chicken livers from Schreiber Processing Corporation (doing business as Alle Processing Corp/MealMart Company) and to chopped liver made from this product that is sold at retail stores or made at home.  The majority of the cases have occurred in Ocean County.

Broiled chicken livers from this manufacturer should be cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before consumption. Chopped liver purchased at retail stores that sell this product should be cooked fully or discarded.

DHSS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have identified these cases of illness associated with the Salmonella Heidelberg bacteria strain, a common bacteria associated with food poisoning in humans.

The cases of Salmonella Heidelberg, identified during the period of February through November, all had a common DNA fingerprint.  Public health investigations recognized a pattern of people reporting that they ate kosher broiled chicken livers or chopped liver before their illness began. This Salmonella strain has been found in samples of broiled chicken livers and in samples of chopped liver made from the kosher broiled chicken livers. The product that the cases are linked to is labeled as “broiled chicken liver” produced by MealMart Company in Maspeth, N.Y.  This product is not fully cooked and is not ready to eat. Consumers reported that they believed the product was fully cooked and that it could be eaten without any further cooking.

While these chicken liver products may appear to be pre-cooked, they are in fact raw and need to be fully cooked before consumption. In stores “broiled chicken livers” are often re-packaged and sold in smaller quantities or are used to prepare chopped liver sold at deli-style establishments. Retail stores and other establishments in the following communities either re-packaged this product or used it to prepare chopped liver that was sold to customers:

New Jersey:     Moonachie, Englewood, Lakewood, Freehold, Teaneck, Elizabeth, Howell, Highland Park, Passaic, Paterson

New York:       Bronx, Brooklyn, Cedarhurst, Far Rockaway, Ferndale, Flushing, Kew Gardens Lawrence, Loch Sheldrake, Monsey, New York (Manhattan), Ocean Side, Parksville, Roslyn Heights, Schenectady, South Fallsberg, Suffern, Wesley Hills, Woodridge.

Maryland:         Baltimore

Pennsylvania:    Mckeesrocks, Philadelphia

Minnesota:        New Hope

Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps and fever. Symptoms usually begin 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after exposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and most people recover without treatment, however, in some persons diarrhea may be so severe that he or she needs to be hospitalized. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. Each year, approximately 1,200-1,300 cases of Salmonella are diagnosed in New Jersey.

Salmonella bacteria is frequently found in raw chicken or other uncooked meats. Consumers should always follow safe food handling practices to prevent transmission of Salmonella bacteria to humans. Avoid getting sick from Salmonella illness and contaminating other foods with Salmonella by:

         Washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat and before they touch other food.

         Cooking meat thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before consumption.

         Putting cooked meat on a clean platter rather than on the one that was used to hold raw meat.

 

For more information visit the DHSS Food and Drug Safety Program website.

 

 

 
 
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