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Pepper Tests Positive, FSIS Names Retailers

The black pepper used to coat the salami products on the 1.24 million pound recall list put out by Rhode Island’s Daniele Inc. have now tested positive for Salmonella, the company says.

The specialty meat company declines to say whom in the wide, wide world of spice supplies its pepper.

black-pepper-featured.jpgThe recalled meat is associated with an outbreak involving at least 189 victims of multiple strains of Salmonella in 40 states.  The Jan. 23 recall is now spreading around the world.

Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety on Jan. 26th ordered stores to stop selling Daniele brand Italian sausage products containing black pepper.  It warned consumers to stop eating the ready-to-eat sausage products.  Canada already took similar action and other countries are sure to follow.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, where the outbreak investigation is headquartered, multiple strains of the Salmonella have been connected to the recall.

“This recall,” CDC explained, “followed isolation of Salmonella in a private laboratory from a retail sample of a salami product produced by Daniele International; this product was different than the sliced salami variety pack purchased at different grocery store locations by the 13 ill persons.

“FSIS (the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service) reviewed and affirmed these private laboratory results. The Salmonella strain initially found by the private laboratory was different from the strains causing the outbreak.

“However, the Washington State Department of Health subsequently tested the bacterial culture provided by the private laboratory (the salami was not provided) and identified two different Salmonella serotypes, the strain found by the private lab and Salmonella Montevideo indistinguishable from the outbreak strain.

“In addition, the Iowa Department of Public Health and public health officials in Plymouth County, Iowa investigated a patient with Salmonella Montevideo infection indistinguishable from the outbreak strain and discovered an open sliced salami variety pack frozen at the patient’s home.

“The patient had eaten this product before becoming ill. This sliced salami variety pack was the same as that purchased by 13 other ill persons.

“Using DNA analysis, the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory (Iowa’s public health laboratory) confirmed that the Salmonella isolated from this leftover salami was indistinguishable from the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo.

“CDC and its public health partners are continuing the epidemiologic investigation to verify that the outbreak is controlled; to identify the specific products or ingredients that became contaminated and how the contamination occurred; and to identify any other food vehicles that may be involved.

“It is possible that more than one food product may be causing illnesses. The investigation is ongoing,” the latest CDC report adds.

Meanwhile, FSIS, which has jurisdiction for meat products, issued a list of retailers that carried the Daniele brand ready-to-eat meats.  Costco, Sam’s Club, and Wal-Mart stores throughout the nation top the list.

Others who sold the recalled meat brands include: Fred Meyer (AK, ID, OR, & WA); Fry’s Food and Drug (AZ); Haggen (OR & WA); Hilander (IL); Kroger (AL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MI, MO, NC, OH, SC, TN, TX, VA, & WV); and Market Basket (MA & NH).

Also retailing the brands were:  Quality Food Center-Fresh Fare (OR & WA); Ralph’s-Ralph’s Fresh Fare (CA); Scott’s (IN); Smith’s-Smith’s Marketplace (AZ, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, & WV); Stop and Shop (NJ & NY); Top Foods (WA); Waldbaums (NY) and Weis (MD, NJ, NY, & PA).

© Food Safety News
  • jmunsell

    Two of many issues here are whether the allegedly “fully-cooked, ready-to-eat” salami was truly fully cooked, and the value of irradiation. If the salami had been adequately and fully cooked, the salmonella-laden black peppers would have been “sanitized”, and all bacteria killed. However, the deregulated basis of USDA-Style HACCP has greatly minimized USDA’s ability to scrutinize the industry, meaning that the role of inspectors has devolved into occasional reviews of company-generated production records, which can easily be altered. Was the salami fully cooked? USDA can only reply that “Company records say that full cooking was conducted”. In 1906 the Federal Meat Inspection Act was passed. Starting in 1998, USDA voluntarily acquiesced its previous authority to inspect meat back to the industry. We should not be the least surprised when these ongoing outbreaks and recurring recalls occur. They are but the predictable result of USDA-Style HACCP. Also, if the black peppers had previously been irradiated, all resident salmonella would have been eliminated before the black peppers had been blended with meat. This outbreak may very well lead to a push to irradiate all spices, which would benefit public health.

  • John Munsell

    Two of many issues here are whether the allegedly “fully-cooked, ready-to-eat” salami was truly fully cooked, and the value of irradiation. If the salami had been adequately and fully cooked, the salmonella-laden black peppers would have been “sanitized”, and all bacteria killed. However, the deregulated basis of USDA-Style HACCP has greatly minimized USDA’s ability to scrutinize the industry, meaning that the role of inspectors has devolved into occasional reviews of company-generated production records, which can easily be altered. Was the salami fully cooked? USDA can only reply that “Company records say that full cooking was conducted”. In 1906 the Federal Meat Inspection Act was passed. Starting in 1998, USDA voluntarily acquiesced its previous authority to inspect meat back to the industry. We should not be the least surprised when these ongoing outbreaks and recurring recalls occur. They are but the predictable result of USDA-Style HACCP. Also, if the black peppers had previously been irradiated, all resident salmonella would have been eliminated before the black peppers had been blended with meat. This outbreak may very well lead to a push to irradiate all spices, which would benefit public health.

  • erick davis jr

    So what about the peppers? I have salami purchased from one of the stores mentioned in the recall, though not from Daniel’s. It does, however, have pepper in it which concerns me a bit. If the pepper has the bacteria in it and is the current source of the contamination, shouldn’t the peppers (and source) used by Daniels be named? I think it safer to probably toss this supply out but am curious what else the ‘offending’ pepper might be on/in.

  • http://www.miamirealfood.org Wendy Mathias

    One can not seriously claim that irradiation is a benefit to public health. Irradiation is not a panacea cure-all, and comes with risks of its own.
    When food is irradiated, some nutrients are destroyed and untested compounds, referred to as URPs (unique radioloytic products)–aka carcinogenic and mutagenic radiolytic products–may be created.
    Irradiation does not destroy all the dangerous organisms, nor does it prevent later contamination from improper handling or storage.
    Irradiation greatly reduces bacterial content in foods, but is considered less effective than proper cooking and improved sanitation practices.
    Irradiation facilities pose further health risks to workers, communities, and the environment.
    The above article states: “It is possible that more than one food product may be causing illnesses. The investigation is ongoing,” the latest CDC report adds.
    Let’s not jump to a blanket nuclear solution when we haven’t truly isolated the cause. You’re merely swapping one public health problem for another.
    Wendy Mathias
    Founder, MiamiRealFood
    http://www.miamirealfood.org