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New Research Discovers Methods to Increase Safety of Smoked Salmon

A recent study from the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, determined that smoking salmon at adequately high temperatures is a step in reducing the risk of Listeria monocytogenes in the fish.

Smoked salmon is produced by salting, smoking and trimming or slicing the fish and then vacuum-packaging the final product. Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) examined the survival of Listeria monocytogenes during the processing of smoked salmon.

This pathogen has the ability to grow at low temperatures and can cause food borne illness upon consumption. Smoked salmon is a ready-to-eat product and if it is not processed and handled properly, it can become contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Researchers from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Wyndmoor, PA, examined the survival of Listeria monocytogenes as affected by salt, smoke compound and temperature between the cold and hot-smoking of salmon. Greater inactivation rates of Listeria monocytogenes occurred in samples processed at higher temperatures and in samples containing higher concentrations of salt and smoke compound. The inactivation rate increased tenfold when the temperature increased by 5° C, indicating that smoking temperature is a main factor affecting the inactivation of the pathogen. In addition, salt and smoke compounds also contribute to the inactivation effect.

“The data and model developed in this study can be used on select concentrations of salt and smoke compound, as well as smoking temperatures of 40° C to 55° C to minimize the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in smoked salmon and therefore, increasing its safety for consumers,” says lead researcher Dr. Cheng-An Hwang

To receive a copy of the study, please contact Jeannie Houchins at

About IFT
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) exists to advance the science of food. Our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere. Founded in 1939, IFT is a nonprofit scientific society with 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT champions the use of sound science across the food value chain through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy, encouraging the exchange of information, providing both formal and informal educational opportunities, and furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. For additional information, please visit

© 2009 Institute of Food Technologists

Jeannie Houchins | Newswise Science News
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