Food safety advice issued about cold smoked and cured fish

Published: 01 Sep 2023

smoked salmon

Horsham District Council is supporting the Foods Standards Agency (FSA) by highlighting advice issued to consumers with weakened immune systems about the serious risk of contracting listeriosis when consuming ready-to-eat cold-smoked and cured fish.

Products including cold-smoked salmon or trout and gravlax have been shown to carry a significantly higher risk of containing the bacteria that can cause serious illness in those more susceptible and the new advice comes in response to a string of outbreaks across the UK over recent years.

Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, Recycling and Waste Cllr Jay Mercer, commented:

It is now advised that those pregnant or with an illness that weakens their immune system avoid eating ready-to-eat cold-smoked or cured fish, similar to the existing advice relating to the consumption of unpasteurised cheeses.

As the chance of serious illness from listeriosis increases with age as well, the FSA are advising that people over 65 years old should also be aware of the risks.

Although cases of listeriosis from eating cold-smoked and cured fish remain rare overall, it is critical that those susceptible to serious illness are aware of the risks associated with their consumption.

Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen which can cause invasive listeriosis, an infection associated with severe illness and high mortality rates in those with weakened immune systems.  These individuals are particularly at risk of the most serious symptoms which can include meningitis, life-threatening sepsis and miscarriages during pregnancy.

Further information and the latest advice to consumers can be found at the links below:

Food Standards Agency: Listeria

Food Standards Agency: updated advice