Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies linked this outbreak to eating “kosher broiled chicken livers” from Schreiber Processing Corporation (doing business as Alle Processing Corporation/MealMart Company), and chopped chicken liver prepared from this product. These “kosher broiled chicken livers” are sold at retail stores and may be used as an ingredient in other prepared foods. These products appear to be ready-to-eat, but are in fact partially cooked, and therefore need to be fully cooked before eating. Consumers may have incorrectly thought the use of the word “broiled” in the label meant the chicken liver was ready-to-eat; however, these chicken livers must be fully cooked before eating.
According to the CDC, between April 1 to November 16, 2011, a total of 179 illnesses due to Salmonella Heidelberg with this PFGE pattern were reported in states where the “kosher broiled chicken livers” were distributed. The number of ill persons identified in each state the product is distributed to is as follows: New York (99), New Jersey (61), Pennsylvania (10), Maryland (6), Ohio (2), and Minnesota (1). Rhode Island and Florida have not identified any cases linked to this outbreak during this period. Among persons for whom information is available in in these states, ill persons range in age from <1 to 97 years with a median age of 13 years. Forty-nine percent are female. Among the 126 ill persons with available information, 25 (20%) have been hospitalized.