The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and Food Standards Agency (FSA) are investigating the ongoing outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to smoked fish.
Whole genome sequencing has identified an outbreak of 12 linked cases of listeriosis since 2020, with six of these since January 2022. Cases have been identified in England and Scotland, with the majority of these individuals reporting eating smoked fish. One of the cases was in a pregnant woman.
Given the ongoing outbreak, as a precaution, information for people who are pregnant has been updated to advise that they 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 – including people who are pregnant and people with weakened immune systems – 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.
“You can do this by keeping chilled ready-to-eat smoked fish cold (5⁰C or below), always using products by their use-by date, following the storage and usage instructions on the label, and cooking or reheating smoked fish until it is piping hot right through.”