Research – Fatal Listeria outbreak linked to Scottish fish processor

Food Safety News

A deadly Listeria outbreak in the United Kingdom has been linked to one company but product testing has only found low levels of contamination.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) suspect the source of contamination to be a salmon-smoking processing factory in Scotland.

Food Standards Scotland wouldn’t name the company or answer questions about the incident from Food Safety News.

Instead, a spokesperson said: “This is an ongoing outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes and, as yet, no definitive source of contamination has been found. Investigations to determine the root cause continue. Investigations of any outbreaks of foodborne illness will comprise both patient questionnaires and sampling of products.

“Local authorities are responsible for working on mitigations with any implicated businesses, and FSS, alongside partners the UK Health Security Agency, Public Health Scotland, and the Food Standards Agency, have been involved in raising awareness of the outbreak with consumers, most recently with targeted messaging to vulnerable groups.”

There have been 14 confirmed Listeria monocytogenes cases in just under two years. At least 10 sick people are above 65 years old, and one was a pregnant woman.

Three people older than 65 have died and for two Listeria monocytogenes was a contributory cause of death. All cases had underlying health conditions.

Of the linked cases of listeriosis since October 2020, eight have been identified since January 2022. The majority of them reported eating ready-to-eat smoked fish.

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