Smoked salmon industry practices and their association with Listeria monocytogenes

Ovidiu Rotariu, John Thomas, Kaarin Goodburn, Mike Hutchison, Norval Strachan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


This study was conducted to analyse the current practices used by the Scottish smoked salmon industry that will affect the likelihood of <em>Listeria monocytogenes</em> contamination in products. Sixteen visits to
smoked salmon premises were conducted between June and November 2011, interviews were carried out based on a questionnaire. The results indicate that most processors carry out appropriate food safety practices, but some improvements are needed in order to minimize the risk of Listeria contamination. It was found that the larger processors achieved better temperature control than the smaller processors.
Approximately half of the visited premises needed to improve their refrigerated storage. The risk of ceiling condensation dripping onto product was a common problem, but the smaller premises were the most affected. Small food business operators require additional information on how cleaning and sanitation
throughout the process can reduce contamination of the final product. Furthermore, guidance describing the best way of determining shelf life was requested by small processors. Fifty six percent of the smoked salmon processors (mostly large and medium size) tested the product for <em>L. monocytogenes</em> and prevalence ranged widely (0-12%) between processors. Those processors having the highest Listeria prevalence were also those most concerned about what microbiological testing should be carried out and how to evaluate the quality of their products. Most processors rarely exceeded (i.e. once every several years) the statutory limit set by the European Union (>100 cfu/g or presence in 25 g). The small producers did not undertake product testing for Listeria because of high test costs and lack of technical
expertise. Hence, it was concluded that sharing expertise between producers, especially to smaller processors would be beneficial in terms of consumer protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284
Number of pages292
JournalFood Control
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Smoked salmon, L. monocytogenes, survey, good hygienic practices


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