Genetic fingerprint matches outbreak strainRhode Island Department of Health confirmed this evening that Salmonella has been found in samples of ground black pepper taken from an open container at Daniele International, Inc. No additional Daniele products have been added to the recall list as a result of the Salmonella finding.
FDA and Rhode Island labs are testing more samples, taken from previously unopened containers at the importer, the distributor and Daniele International.
The Salmonella recovered from Daniele's black pepper matches the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo that has sickened at least 189 individuals in 40 states.
FDA already knows the identity of both the importer and distributor of this black pepper. What is not clear is whether FDA has yet determined which additional food processors, wholesalers or retailers received the pepper, or how much contaminated ground black pepper might still be floating around in the marketplace. The brand of black pepper used by Daniele was not supplied to any other Rhode Island company.
As I reported on January 24th, FDA refused entry to 27 shipments of black pepper in the first six months of 2009. Most of the consignments came from India. All of them were rejected because of Salmonella contamination.
Daniele International, Inc. has announced that it is converting to using irradiated black pepper for all of its products.
Food processors take note. Black pepper is not the only "dirty" spice. Learn from Daniele's experience and use only irradiated or ethylene oxide-treated spices in all ready-to-eat products.
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