This study was conducted to analyse the current practices used by the Scottish smoked salmon industry that will affect the likelihood of Listeria monocytogenes 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 L monocytogenes 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. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research team acknowledges the support of the Food Standards Agency Scotland which funded this work as project FS14061. The authors also acknowledge the enthusiastic efforts of the Scottish fish processing and smoking industries whose cooperation made this study possible.
- smoked salmon
- listeria monocytogenes
- good hygienic practice
- processing plant