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Listeria deaths: Smoked salmon safe for most, but should be avoided by some

The deaths of two Australians have been linked to smoked salmon, sparking concerns about fish contaminated with listeria.

Health authorities yesterday issued a warning after linking the two deaths, and a third illness, to smoked salmon sourced from Tasmania.

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, said healthy people should not be concerned about eating the fish.

“All three cases were in quite elderly, frail people who have compromised immune systems,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

The Tasmanian health department has checked all Tasmanian producers of smoked salmon and found contamination levels are within the acceptable range.

“There is no suggestion that there’s any product risk,” Mr Murphy said.

The chief medical officer said healthy people need not worry about consuming the food, but those with compromised immune systems, and pregnant woman, should consider avoiding it.

“If you’re someone who has had, for example, drugs that suppress your immune system, you’re elderly or frail, or a pregnant woman … we suggest a range of measures to try and avoid exposure to it (listeria),” he said.

“If you do want to eat these foods make sure you keep them within the use by date, don’t leave them in the fridge for too long, and where possible use freshly prepared.”

Listeria contamination levels do not vary greatly between Australian and imported salmon products.

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Two Australians dead after eating contaminated smoked salmon