Listeria warning issued for Lidl smoked fish

Published on
December 19, 2022
The exterior of a Lidl store in the U.K.

Consumers in the United Kingdom are being warned about specific ready-to-eat smoked fish products being sold by discount retailer Lidl that are linked to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes.

Both Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have advised that products produced by St. James Smokehouse and sold under Lidl’s “Deluxe Oak Smoked Scottish Loch Trout” and “Lighthouse Bay Smoked Trout Trimmings” ranges are being recalled. 

The recalled products have use by dates ranging between and including 20 December, 2022, and 6 January, 2023. Consumers should not eat the products and return them to Lidl for a full refund, FSS and FSA said.

In September 2022, St. James Smokehouse issued a voluntary recall in the United States of 93 cases of smoked salmon due to the potential it could have been contaminated with listeria. And in August 2022, FSS and FSA issued a separate warning about ready-to-eat smoked fish products potentially carrying a risk of listeria monocytogenes infections.

In a joint statement, FSS Deputy Chief Executive Ian McWatt and FSA Director of Operations Junior Johnson commended Lidl for its caution.

“The ongoing investigation into a Listeria outbreak has identified the presence of a strain of Listeria monocytogenes which has caused serious illness. We are therefore warning consumers about these recalled products," the statement said. “As we approach the peak of the festive season, we know consumers are more likely to eat smoked fish, such as smoked salmon and trout. While investigations into the outbreak continue, FSS and FSA are reminding vulnerable consumers of the advice more generally around consuming smoked fish – it must be heated until it is steaming hot, before they eat it. While the risk of listeria is low to the general consumer, all consumers should follow this advice if they are serving smoked fish to elderly and other vulnerable relatives and friends over the festive period.”

To date, the investigation has identified 15 linked cases of listeriosis since 2020, with eight of these since January 2022. Cases have been identified in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Listeriosis is a form of food poisoning caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Most people who are affected get mild gastroenteritis which subsides in a few days. But certain individuals are particularly at risk of severe illness such as meningitis and life-threatening sepsis. These include those over the age of 65, those with certain underlying conditions such as cancer, liver, and kidney failure or who are taking medications which can weaken the immune system.

Photo courtesy of Criag Russell/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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