Denmark -Fish meatballs cause disease outbreaks with Listeria


Since mid-August, the Statens Serum Institut has registered seven patients who have become ill from the same type of Listeria monocytogenes . The Statens Serum Institut, the Danish Food Agency and the DTU Food Institute have jointly investigated the disease outbreak and have identified fish cakes as the cause. The fish meatballs have been recalled from the stores.

Last edited on November 9, 2022
Since mid-August, Statens Serum Institut has registered seven patients with the same type of the food-borne bacterium Listeria monocytogenes . Among the sick are one child and six people over the age of 70, of whom one person has subsequently died. The patients are distributed across the country and are four women and three men.

“By comparing bacteria from patients and samples from Jeka Fish, we have found that the bacteria are exactly the same. Combined with the fact that the patients have stated that they have eaten fish meatballs, this shows that the infection came from here”
Luise Müller, who is an epidemiologist at the Statens Serum Institut

The fish meatballs have been called back

On Tuesday 8 November, Jeka Fish recalled all fish cakes produced between 1 August and 31 October 2022 from the market. The recall was made because the Danish Food and Drug Administration had found listeria in production and in products at the company.

“Jeka Fish has recalled a number of different fish patties, which have now been taken off the shelves, but if you have the product at home, it is important to throw it away”
Annette Perge, section manager at the Danish Food and Drug Administration

The DTU Food Institute, SSI and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration have analyzed and compared the listeria bacteria that were found in the patients and in samples from the company, using DNA typing.

See which types of fishcakes have been recalled

What should you do if you have eaten fish cakes from the recalled batch?

Even if you have eaten the fishmeals that have now been recalled, there is very little risk that you will get sick. You are at risk of becoming seriously ill with listeria if you are older, have a weakened immune system due to another serious illness or are pregnant.

You should contact a doctor if you have symptoms of illness. The symptoms include high fever, chills, muscle soreness and affected general condition; neck/back stiffness or altered level of consciousness.

The work continues

In addition to patients with the listeria bacteria in question, significantly more patients infected with listeria than usual have been registered since October 2022. So the work to find the causes of the other cases of illness continues.

“To avoid listeria infection, it is extremely important to stick to a refrigerator temperature of no more than 5 degrees and to eat foods such as cold cuts, cold-smoked fish and gravad salmon as fresh as possible. If we change habits, for example due to the energy and economic crisis, we risk that the bacteria will have good growth opportunities and that more people will get sick”
Senior researcher and research group leader Marianne Sandberg, DTU Food Institute 

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