Risk-benefit assessment of cold-smoked salmon: microbial risk versus nutritional benefit

Firew Lemma Berjia, Jeljer Hoekstra, Rikke Andersen, Morten Poulsen, Maarten Nauta

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The objective of the study is to perform an integrated analysis of microbiological risks and nutritional benefits in a fish product, Cold Smoked Salmon (CSS).
Literature study identified the major health risks and benefits in connection with CSS consumption. The reduction of the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) mortality and stroke, as well as enhanced cognitive (IQ) development of unborns following maternal intake, are identified as the main health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid from CSS. Contrary, risk of meningitis, septicemia and abortion/stillborn are identified as a major health risk endpoints due to exposure to the pathogen L. monocytogenes. Two consumption scenarios were considered: a reference scenario (23g/day and 20g/day for man and woman respectively) and an alternative scenario (40g/day for both sexes). In order to evaluate and compare the risks and benefits, the Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) method has been used as a common metric. Results show that the overall health benefits outweigh the risk, foremost contributed by the effect of decreased CHD mortality and IQ increase. A sensitivity analysis indicated that this result was robust for the analyzed parameters, except the storage time: the adverse effect of consumption of CSS prevails over the beneficial effect if the storage time of CSS is increased from two weeks to five weeks or more, due to an increased risk of listeriosis. This study demonstrates how microbial risks can be integrated in risk-benefit assessment, and shows that a sensitivity analysis has an added value, even if the benefits largely
outweigh the risk in the initial analysis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Food Research & Review
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)49-68
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Cold-smoked salmon
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Omega-3 acids
  • DALY


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