So far in 2011, there have been 18 outbreaks of one particular form of food poisoning, with over 440 people becoming unwell as a result, although only one required hospital treatment.
The culprit? Campylobacter, the most common form of bacterial food poisoning. It can cause various symptoms, from stomach pain and cramps, diarrhoea and fever. Vomiting is unusual and most people do recover within a week.
Recent figures released by the Health Protection Agency have shown rather worryingly, however, that the majority of outbreaks of Campylobacter in catering venues this year have been the result of guests eating undercooked duck or chicken liver paté.
The liver is particularly prone to causing this type of outbreak because whereas other meats tend to harbour the bacteria on their surface, they can be found throughout the liver tissues. This means it is imperative to make sure that liver is completely cooked through before being eaten.
The Food Safety Agency has issued a warning to caterers to make sure that poultry livers are cooked thoroughly and that food hygiene standards are consistently met. Cases could be reduced simply by following advice such as this, which simply underlines the importance of food safety training.