The Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, continues to work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health and other states in the investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo infections associated with certain Italian-style sausage products including salami/salame.
The CDC reports that 213 people have been infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Montevideo in at least 42 states and the District of Columbia. Recently, the CDC and public health officials in multiple states conducted an epidemiologic study by comparing foods eaten by 41 ill and 41 well persons. Preliminary analysis of this study suggested salami/salame as a possible source of illness: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/montevideo/index.html.1
Although the confirmed source of this contamination has not been definitively identified, Daniele International Inc. has recalled a variety of ready-to-eat Italian style meats. The recalled products, including salami and Hot Sopressata Calabrese, are regulated by the USDA-FSIS. A complete listing of all recalled products and a list of the stores that sold these products can be found at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_006_2010_Release/index.asp2.
Recent samples of black pepper collected by the Rhode Island Department of Health at Daniele International Inc. tested positive for Salmonella. One sample from an open container matched the outbreak strain. The remaining supply of pepper testing positive for Salmonella has been voluntarily placed on hold by both of Daniele’s suppliers.
The FDA is actively investigating the supply chain of the black pepper used in the manufacturing of the recalled meat products to see if it poses a risk to consumers. The agency has collected and is currently analyzing both domestic and imported black pepper samples. To date, all the samples collected and analyzed by the FDA have tested negative for Salmonella; however, testing continues.
If FDA identifies a public health risk associated with black pepper, or any other product, the Agency will take the appropriate action necessary to protect the public’s health.
The recalled meat products have an extended shelf life up to one year. Therefore, recalled products may still be in grocery stores and in consumers’ homes, including in the freezer. Consumers are advised to visit the USDA-FSIS web site for a list of the recalled products and labels to make sure they do not have any of them in their homes. If they do, consumers should throw the products away immediately.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. Individuals having consumed any Italian sausage products and who may be experiencing these symptoms should contact a health professional immediately. For details on salmonella sources, symptoms, and treatment, please refer to the Salmonella page on FoodSafety.gov: http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/salmonella.html3.
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