Norwegian admission: smoked salmon may harbor listeria

Norwegian researchers have found that nine types of Listeria monocytogenes identified in three salmon-processing companies in Norway are of a genetic variant which are also found in patients suffering from listeriosis.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, Norway’s National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) said that a study of smoked.salmon.bagelthree companies producing farmed salmon in different parts of Norway have identified 15 types of Listeria monocytogenes.
Of the 15 types, nine are of a genetic variant that scientists have also found in patients with listeriosis.

Emphasizing that no link has ever been established between any cases of listeriosis and the salmon products from Norway, the researchers cautioned that salmon can not be discarded as a possible source of the disease, which mainly affect human fetuses, neonates and persons with conditions weakening their immune systems.

This is the first time for the researchers in the institute to conduct a study comparing the samples with Listeria monocytogenes obtained from Norwegian salmon factories and the human cases of the disease, Bjoern Tore Lunestad, a senior scientist with NIFES, told Xinhua in a telephone interview from Bergen, a Norwegian city on the western coast.

“This background in not sufficient for us to claim that fish are the sources of the cases of listeriosis in our study. But on the other hand, we cannot ignore this possibility. Salmon are one of several potential sources of L. monocytogenes,” said Lunestad. Their findings is published in the October issue of the Epidemiology and Infection journal.