Listeria detected more than 700 times at Lerøy plant says NRK; coincided with multiple fatalities

Editorial Staff

Swedish health authorities have indicated a probable Norwegian origin for the fatal listeria outbreak in the country between August 2022 and November 2023.

Lerøy Midt’s processing facility, a subsidiary of salmon producing giant Lerøy, faced more than 700 incidents of listeria contamination between August 2022 and November 2023, according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

This period aligns with a listeria outbreak in Sweden, which resulted in seven deaths and was linked to smoked and grilled salmon from Lerøy Smögen Seafood.

Read more: Listeria outbreak traced back to Lerøy factory in Sweden

Swedish health authorities have indicated a probable Norwegian origin for the outbreak, specifically pointing to Lerøy Midt’s slaughterhouse.

A notice from The Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s to Lerøy Midt revealed repeated listeria detections in various production areas, including on the same equipment over consecutive days.

Ivar Eiken, head of the department at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority in Trondheim, conveyed concern over the substantial number of listeria findings, noting the increased risk of fish contamination. A November inspection by the Authority suggested that the listeria bacteria might have established itself at the facility, implying ongoing contamination.

Despite these significant findings, Lerøy has not publicly addressed the criticisms mentioned in the Food Safety Authority’s notice.

“The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has not taken any decision in the matter. This is an ongoing process and we must respond to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority by the deadline,” the company told NRK.

Listeria is a type of bacteria found naturally in the environment and can contaminate food, leading to a bacterial infection called listeriosis. It poses a particular risk in ready-to-eat foods and can grow even at refrigeration temperatures. Listeriosis is especially dangerous for pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems, often causing severe illness or even death.


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