The nationwide Salmonella outbreak associated with Italian-style salami may involve two strains of the pathogen, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has confirmed.

In the latest update, CDC said 225 people in 44 states and the District of Columbia were infected with Salmonella Montevideo.  And for the first time, it confirmed five additional illnesses from Salmonella Senftenberg.

“Salmonella Senftenberg, a different serotype of Salmonella, has been found in food samples from retail and a patient household during this outbreak investigation,” CDC reports.  “PulseNet identified 5 persons who had illnesses caused by Salmonella Senftenberg with matching PFGE patterns between July 1, 2009 and today (Feb. 1, 2010).

“Public health officials have interviewed 4 of the 5 ill persons with this strain of Salmonella Senftenberg and determined that one consumers a recalled salami product during the week before their illness began,” CDC added.

The possible second prong of the outbreak with its five cases was not included in the overall count of 225 Salmonella Montevideo cases.

Rhode Island-based Daniele Inc., beginning Jan. 23rd, has recalled about 1.3 million pounds of the ready-to-eat meats.  

Almost from the outset, Daniele Inc. has suspected the pepper it uses to coat certain of its salami products.  The Rhode Island Department of Health sampled pepper from an open container that tested positive for Salmonella Montevideo.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing pepper used in the manufacturing of the recalled products, but so far all of its tests have been negative for Salmonella.

Wholesome Spice and Seasonings Inc. and Mincing Overseas Spice Company are pepper suppliers for Daniele Inc.  Both are believed to have imported pepper from Vietnam.

FDA is investigating the supply chain of black pepper used by Daniele in its manufacturing process, and the missing link remains a positive test from closed container of pepper.