Reminder about cooking pâté safely
There is no doubt that it’s a classic starter and firm festive favourite, but over the past five years there have been 30 food poisoning outbreaks linked to chicken liver pâté*. We know that many recipes, including some by leading chefs, advocate short cooking times so livers are served rare, and estimates suggest half of livers served commercially in the UK fail to reach 70°C during cooking. This can result in campylobacter survival rates of 48%–98%.** We also know, via the 2015 ‘Restaurant Cooking Trends and Increased Risk for Campylobacter Infection’ study, that many chefs prefer to serve livers substantially more rare than the public would like when eating out**.
As a result, the FSA is reminding those preparing and cooking any liver pâté how they can do it safely, so it can continue to be enjoyed by the public this Christmas. The majority of people who get ill from campylobacter recover fully and quickly but it can cause long-term and severe health problems in some. No responsible food business would wish this on its customers, and happily it is easy to avoid.
The FSA recommends:
- Cooking liver until the core reaches 70°C for 2 minutes (or an equivalent time and temperature combination) to remove the risk of campylobacter
- Alternatively, employ another safe cooking method, such as bain-marie or sous vide
You can find more information and a safe bain-marie recipe for liver pâté on the FSA website.