Salmonella Found in Black Pepper Used to Coat Recalled Sausage

Very recently, we wrote that Daniele International Inc., expanded its January 23 recall to include approximately 17,235 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) varieties of Italian sausage products, including salami/salame, that were potentially contaminated with <"">Salmonella, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The recall was classified as a 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.

Now, reports the Associated Press (AP), testing has 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.

According to Beardsworth, said the AP, approximately half of those who fell ill did not eat salami, indicating that the source of the outbreak has likely not been fully determined.

Further testing is ongoing at a state health partner laboratory to determine the source of the Salmonella Montevideo strain linked to the multi-state outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), FSIS, state health and agriculture departments, and Daniele International are cooperating in this investigation.

The CDC reported that as of 9:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) on January 31, 2010, a total of 203 individuals infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Montevideo have been reported from 42 states and the District of Columbia since July 1, 2009. Illnesses began between July 4, 2009 and January 11, 2010. Infected individuals range in age from less than one year to 93 years old; the median age is 37 years and 53 percent of patients are male. Among the 151 patients with available information, 40 (26 percent) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The CDC noted that recalled products might still be in grocery stores and in consumers’ homes, including in the freezer. Recalled products should not be consumed. Consumers are advised to review the list of recalled products and labels for the initial recall dated January 23, 2010 at:

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause Salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial food borne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants; the elderly; and persons with the HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of Salmonellosis 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.

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

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