Illinois resident Raymond Cirimele regularly purchased Daniele Inc. Italian-style salami products at a Costco store in Cook County. Last November he ate some of that pepper-coated salami and was infected with Salmonella Montevideo.

After that, Cirimele experienced all sorts of gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, aches and pains, fever, and severe abdominal cramps. He spent from Nov. 12th well into December making multiple visits to his primary care physician. He was eventually treated with the powerful antibiotic Ciprofloxacin.

Cirimele, who is still recovering, Thursday joined a growing line of plaintiffs who are suing Daniele Inc. and its two pepper suppliers, Wholesome Spice and Seasonings Inc. and Mincing Overseas Spice Co.

In the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, Cirimele is seeking unspecific damages citing three counts: strict product liability, negligence, and breach of warranty.

The Seattle-based food safety law firm of Marler Clark and Chicago area attorney Gary Newland of Newland, Newland, & Newland are teaming up to represent Cirimele.

The salami pepper Salmonella outbreak began in July 2009, and does not appear to be over.  The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta now report 217 illnesses in 44 states; and the District of Columbia. Those numbers have continued to inch up.

“We expect a restaurant to ensure the safety of the ingredients they use to prepare food,” said Marler Clark attorney, Drew Falkenstein. “Similarly, a food manufacturer must ensure that its ingredients are safe.  Daniele and the spice importers were responsible for making sure the ingredients that went into the pepper salami were free of illness-causing bacteria, and they did not live up to that responsibility.”

Rhode Island-based Daniele Inc. began recalling a long list of the ready-to-eat meats its produces for its own and other brands on Jan. 23rd.  About 1.3 million pounds of product are now involved in the recall.

The Vietnam Pepper Association says only the highest quality pepper is sold to its customers in the United States, and any contamination must have occurred during processing in the United States, not before it left Southeast Asia.