Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 11.20.18 AM.pngJapan’s Heath Ministry says the detection of E. Coli in beef liver may result in the banning of raw liver from the country’s dining menus.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will consider a ban on selling raw beef liver following food poisoning deaths from raw beef served at barbecue restaurants earlier this year, Kyodo News reported Friday.

Live E. coli was detected in the livers of two of about 150 cattle it examined at meat inspection centers nationwide since summer, the ministry said.

Restaurants had already been asked by the government to refrain from serving raw beef liver while the ministry conducted the examinations.

Food poisoning from E. coli can be fatal, and thorough heating is necessary to kill the bacteria in the liver, health officials said.

Twenty of the 116 cases of food poisoning from eating raw beef liver confirmed between 1998 and 2010 were caused by E. coli, the ministry said.