Ongoing listeria outbreak linked to smoked fish

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

An outbreak of listeria has been linked to smoked fish
An outbreak of listeria has been linked to smoked fish

Related tags Food safety Meat & Seafood

An ongoing outbreak of listeria in the UK has been linked to smoked fish, according to an investigation led by the UK Health Security Agency, Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland.

Whole genome sequencing analysis has identified an outbreak of 12 linked cases of listeriosis since 2020 – six of which were since January 2022 – with cases identified in England and Scotland.  

The FSA has yet to identify a source for the outbreak, but investigation are still uinderway.

The majority of these individuals reported eating smoked fish – one of which was identified as a pregnant woman. 

Precautionary measures  

In light of the ongoing outbreak, precautionary guidance was issued for people who are pregnant, which advised them to thoroughly cook smoked fish before eating it. 

Advice for avoiding listeriosis infection is being updated to include smoked fish as a high-risk product which should be thoroughly cooked before being eaten by anyone in a high-risk group. 

Tina Potter, FSA Head of Incidents, said: “Due to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to smoked fish, we are reminding people who are vulnerable to Listeria infection of the risks in consuming smoked fish and asking them to make sure that the smoked fish is always thoroughly cooked including when served as part of a dish before they eat it. 

Clear advice  

“We are working closely with UK partners across government to ensure that this advice is as clear as possible – members of the public do not need to avoid these products, but should ensure risks are reduced as far as possible.” 

Meanwhile, Ferrero has recalled selected batches of Kinder Surprise products that have been linked to an outbreak of salmonella.​ 

Investigations led by UK Health Security Agency, Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland found a link between reported cases of salmonella poisoning across the UK and a specific product produced by the Ferrero company.  

Listeria and listeriosis

Listeria is a bacterium that causes an illness called listeriosis. It is widespread in the environment and can contaminate a range of food at low or standard refrigeration temperatures.  

It can be destroyed by thorough cooking. It is of most concern in chilled, ready to eat foods that do not require further cooking, such as smoked fish. 

Related topics Food Safety Meat, poultry & seafood

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1 comment

New methods to avoid listeriosis from smokked fish

Posted by Prof. Dr. Ahmet Yemenicioğlu,

Novel fully natural active edible packaging is the most practical solution to prevent listeriosis. We must increase the awareness of industriers and consumers about these methods.

Boyacı, D., Korel, F., & Yemenicioğlu, A. (2016). Development of activate-at-home-type edible antimicrobial films: An example pH-triggering mechanism formed for smoked salmon slices using lysozyme in whey protein films. Food Hydrocolloids, 60, 170-178.
Boyacı, D., & Yemenicioğlu, A. (2020). Development of gel-based pads loaded with lysozyme and green tea extract: Characterization of pads and test of their antilisterial potential on cold-smoked salmon. LWT, 128, 109471.
Boyacı, D., & Yemenicioğlu, A. (2018). Expanding horizons of active packaging: Design of consumer-controlled release systems helps risk management of susceptible individuals. Food Hydrocolloids, 79, 291-300.

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