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.
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.
“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.