Listeria outbreak linked to fish products raises concerns, EFSA says

05 January 2024

A multi-country outbreak of listeria monocytogenes, which has impacted Austria, Belgium, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands between the years of 2022 and 2023, has been attributed to ready-to-eat fish products, particularly smoked salmon, according to experts from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

During 2022 and 2023, the outbreak has led 17 reported cases and two fatalities, primarily affecting elderly individuals. Remarkably, the historical data shows cases related to this outbreak as far back as 2011.

Advanced molecular typing techniques have pinpointed a variant of listeria monocytogenes, prevalent in most of the 2022 and 2023 cases, suggesting a potential connection to two establishments in Lithuania. These establishments have distributed contaminated fish products in the retail markets of Germany and Italy. On the other hand, the information regarding Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands is not available.

EFSA and ECDC experts have underscored the need for further investigations to trace the source of contamination in order to find control measures and mitigation strategies.