A recall of kosher chicken liver meat from a New York food processing company is under way following a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 64 New Jersey residents, 56 of them in Ocean County.
The said today that it’s assisting in the recall of chicken livers sold by Maspeth, N.Y.-based Alle Processing Corporation, a company also doing business under the names Schrieber Processing Corporation and MealMart Company. Officials say the outbreak may be linked to the meat, which was sold wholesale to retailers as “broiled,” but was undercooked.
Cases of illness, which causes diarrhea and abdominal pain, have also been reported in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Minnesota, said Health Department spokeswoman Leslie Terjesen. She said that in New Jersey, most of the affected retail locations are kosher food stores in Lakewood, which is why the outbreak has hit Ocean County hard.
Salmonella is a food-borne bacteria that can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps and fever, according to the Health Department. Symptoms usually begin 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after eating affected food. Salmonella infections usually resolve in a week or less, and most people never need treatment. But in some people, hospitalization may be necessary.
The illness can be fatal, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.
A full list of retail stores who received and resold the meat isn’t currently available, said Terjesen, but it is believed stores in Lakewood, Howell, Freehold, Highland Park, Elizabeth, Englewood, Moonachie, Passaic, Paterson and Teaneck have either repackaged and resold the meat or used it to make chopped liver prepared food products.
Terjesen said the Health Department is currently testing several more sick Ocean County residents who are believed to have the particular strain of the illness, Salmonella Heidelberg.
She said the recall is voluntary, but the Health Department is working closely with the state and the affected retailers to take all the meat off the market. In the meantime, she said, people who think they might have purchased the affected product should bring the meat to the retailer where it was purchased or dispose of it.
Residents also are urged to always follow safe food handling guidelines, Terjesen said, which include cooking chicken to 165 degrees. You can read more about safe cooking on the Ocean County Health Department website.