Brooklyn’s Wholesome Spice and Seasonings was not the only company supplying black pepper contaminated with Salmonella Montevideo to Daniele Inc., the Rhode Island Department of Health said Wednesday.

peppered-salami4-featured.jpgDayton, NJ’s Mincing Overseas Spice Company also supplied the black pepper that was used by the Rhode Island-based Daniele to coat ready-to-eat salami.

Tests by Rhode Island health officials “strongly suggest black pepper was the source of the Salmonella outbreak associated with Daniele Inc.”

Daniele purchased black pepper from two different distributors (Mincing Overseas Spice and Wholesome Spice) who buy imported black pepper.

Samples of pepper from both distributors have tested positive for Salmonella. All other tests of employees and the facilities are negative at this time, state health officials said.

Rhode Island said the findings are consistent with Daniele Inc.’s history of no Salmonella findings by in-house testing and periodic testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. No additional food items have been added to the recall list, which consists of more than 1.25 million pounds of salami (salame) produced by Daniele for its own and other labels.

As part of the outbreak investigation, it was determined that both distributors who supplied black pepper to Daniele imported pepper from common sources.  It was previously reported the black pepper originated in Vietnam, but an importer has not been named.

“These recent findings show that black pepper used during the manufacturing process at Daniele was the likely source of this outbreak,” said Rhode Island’s Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “This outbreak only underscores the importance of closely monitoring food that is imported from other countries as they may not have the same food safety standards as we do.”

Daniele now purchases black pepper that has already been treated to assure the elimination of Salmonella and other infectious organisms. Daniele is testing all lots of new products before they leave the manufacturing plant for distribution. In addition, the company continues to clean and sanitize all areas and equipment to ensure safe products.

Rhode Island is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine any other distribution of this black pepper in the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta updated its report on the outbreak yesterday, saying 207 people in 42 states and the District of Columbia were known to be infected with the Salmonella Montevideo strain as of 9 p.m., Feb. 2.