Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

A recipe for disaster: outbreaks of campylobacteriosis associated with poultry liver pâté in England and Wales

  • C. L. LITTLE (a1), F. J. GORMLEY (a1), N. RAWAL (a1) and J. F. RICHARDSON (a1)

Despite the frequency of Campylobacter as the principal cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in the UK, outbreaks attributed to this pathogen are rare. One hundred and fourteen general foodborne outbreaks of campylobacteriosis were reported to the Health Protection Agency from 1992 to 2009 with most occurring in food service establishments (64%, 73/114). Poultry meat (38%, 43/114) was the most commonly reported vehicle of infection, of which poultry liver pâté, and undercooking, were strongly associated with this pathogen. Notably, the number of outbreaks of campylobacteriosis linked to consumption of poultry liver pâté in England and Wales increased significantly from 2007 (74% as opposed to 12%, P<0·00001) with a preponderance of these occurring in December. These outbreaks highlight the hazards associated with inappropriate culinary practices leading to undercooking of poultry liver pâté and suggest that improving catering practice is an important last line of defence in reducing exposure to Campylobacter-contaminated products.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr C. L. Little, Department of Gastrointestinal, Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, UK. (Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2.Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food. Second Report on Campylobacter. London: Food Standards Agency, 2005.

3.T Humphrey , S O'Brien , M Madsen . Campylobacters as zoonotic pathogens: a food production perspective. International Journal of Food Microbiology 2007; 117: 237257.

6.CL Little , Prevalence, characterization and antimicrobial resistance of Campylobacter and Salmonella in raw poultrymeat in the United Kingdom, 2003 to 2005. International Journal of Environmental Health Research 2008; 18: 403414.

7.R Whyte , JA Hudson , C Graham . Campylobacter in chicken livers and their destruction by pan frying. Letters in Applied Microbiology 2006; 43: 591595.

10.H de Valk , Two consecutive nationwide outbreaks of Listeriosis in France, October 1999–February 2000. American Journal of Epidemiology 2001; 154: 944950.

12.Food Standards Agency. Raw drinking milk and raw cream control requirements in the different countries of the UK, 11 May 2009 ( Accessed 22 March 2010.

15.KJ Forbes , Campylobacter immunity and coinfection following a large outbreak in a farming community. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2009; 47: 111116.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *