Another Lawsuit in Sausage Salmonella Outbreak

We have been following the issue surrounding the Daniele International Inc., recall of 1.24 million pounds of sausage products potentially contaminated with <"">Salmonella. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) classified the recall as Class I, which means that this is a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

The Associated Press (AP) also recently reported that testing indicated that the same strain of Salmonella that caused illnesses in over 200 people in about 42 states appears to have been found in black pepper. But, black pepper might not be the only source, according to the Rhode Island Health Department, said the AP. The tests, said the AP, traced the Salmonella pathogen to ground pepper in closed containers at Daniele that were intended for use to coat salami, said Annemarie Beardsworth, a spokeswomen with the health department.

The CDC noted that there have been about 40 hospitalizations linked to the Salmonella strain involved, said the AP.

Now, reports the SunTimes, a Chicago man has just filed a lawsuit against Daniele International following the sausage recall. The man claims that he was sick for “almost a month” in November 2009 after he came in contact with Salmonella-tainted pepper used in a salami product, said the SunTimes. Raymond Cirimele is also filing suit against Mincing Overseas Trading Company, which—according to the lawsuit—is associated with the Salmonella-tainted pepper, wrote the Sun Times. Cirimele said he routinely bought Daniele salami products at a Cook’s County Cosco, said the Sun times, citing a statement from Cirimele’s attorney.

Another family from Illinois filed a lawsuit Daniele International last month that claims a three-month-old boy fell ill after eating its pepper-coated salami, said the SunTimes.

Daniele issued the voluntary recall of all its products made with black pepper after testing resulted in an indirect link to the pathogen.

Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food borne illness outbreaks and infections can be life threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of Salmonellosis—the food borne illness caused by contamination with the Salmonella pathogen—are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

Healthy persons infected with the Salmonella pathogen often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e. infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis.

Some Salmonella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and Salmonella is the most frequently reported cause of food-related outbreaks of stomach illness worldwide. Salmonella poisoning can lead to Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult-to-treat reactive arthritis.

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