A trickle of pepper recalls has continued in the last few days, prompting the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to come forward with some advice for consumers.
CFIA said it was working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the investigation into Salmonella contamination of black and red pepper in the United States.
Two U.S. companies that sell black and red pepper to commercial and wholesaler users have ongoing recalls of their products–the Mincing Overseas Spice Company and the Wholesome Spice Company.
CFIA said it is investigating other potentially contaminated products that may have included pepper from either Mincing or Wholesome in spices and seasons. In the meantime, the Canadian food safety agency is telling consumers that:
• You won’t necessarily be able to tell from ingredient lists if black or red pepper is in the food because it is often part of a season mix. Be aware of the list of recalled products. If you have them in your home, don’t eat them.
• If you have purchased whole black peppercorns and cannot identify the original brand or code, you should check with the place of purpose.
• Use proper safe food handling practices and carefully follow the cooking instructions as ready-to-cook food in your home could potentially contain the recalled ingredient.
Among the recent additions to the list of pepper products being recalled are:
Perfect Candy & Packaging Co. recalled its 2 oz. Whole Black Peppercorns that are sold in retail stores throughout the U.S.
C. H. Guenther & Son, Inc. recalled nearly two dozen products containing pepper that may be contaminated with Salmonella, including: Bayou Heat Spicy Wings Seasoning, Shop ‘n Save Chicken Roasting Bag & Seasoning Blend, Carlita Fajita Seasoning Mix, La Tiara Taco Seasoning, Shurfine Pork Gravy, and Shurfine Season ‘n Bake for Chicken-with bag.
Also HY-TOP Pork Gravy and Fajita Seasoning mixes, Cooking Bag & Seasoning Blend for Chicken, and Marinade Southwest Flavor for Meat or Chicken.
Other Guenther & Son products recalled include: H-E-B Beef Stew, Meat Loaf, and Sloppy Joe mixes, Weis Chicken Season ‘n Bake-Roasting Bag and Seasoning, Parade Pork Gravy and Fajita Seasoning mixes, IGA Bag ‘n Bake-Cooking Bag and Seasoning Mix Chicken, Piggly Wiggly Season ‘n Bake, Tops Pork Gravy, Food Club Beef Stew, and Best Yet Season ‘n Bake Chicken.
Blue Line Food Service has also recalled its Little Caesar Spice Paks
Check FDA’s website for recalls to obtain all the various product codes and descriptions for all the pepper-related recalls.
All of the recalls have occurred since the discovery that pepper was the original source of a Salmonella Montevideo outbreak that was associated with ready-to-eat meats made by Rhode Island-based Daniele International Inc.
Since Jan. 23, Daniele has recalled about 1.4 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats, and the subsequent investigation linked the outbreak to pepper used to coat some of its Italian-style salami. Daniele obtained its pepper from both Mincing and Wholesome.
While no illnesses have been associated with any of these “downstream” recalls, 252 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella that was linked back to Daniele’s meats.
The outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo spread across 44 states and the District of Columbia.