Some 9% of smoked fish sold in the UK may contain the listeria monocytogenes bacteria, although not at dangerous levels, a Food Standards Agency survey has shown. Almost 12% of the 3,222 samples tested were found to contain some form of listeria, and 9% contained the listeria monocytogenes organism. However, more than 99% of those infected were reported to be within legislative limits.

The results of the study have been welcomed by the Food and Drink Federation Salmon Processors and Smokers Group, which has stressed the high standards of hygiene to which the industry operates. The levels of listeria found were low, said group chair Ian Michie. “This comes as no surprise to our members. Food safety is our sector’s number one priority,” he said.

However, according to the FSA, the number of instances of food poisoning caused by listeria has doubled since 2000.