225 people in 44 states and the District of Columbia are reported by Federal officials to have been sickened by salmonella as a result of an imported black pepper used in the preparation of salami and other types of Italian sausage made by Daniele International, Inc., a Rhode Island company. The recall involves 1.2 million pounds of ready-to-eat salami Jan. 22, after state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked the outbreak to the company's products. Daniele expanded the recall Feb. 4 to include 23,754 additional pounds of salami products. An estimated 26% have been hospitalized, officials said. Victims of the outbreak are up to 93 years old, with a median age of 39. More than half, or 53 percent, have been male. This is the second time in less than a year that an outbreak of salmonella illness has been linked to pepper. Last March, 42 people fell ill after eating tainted white and black pepper sold by Union International Food of California. The salami, sopressata and other products were packaged under Daniele as well as the Boar's Head and Black Bear of the Black Woods brands and were sold by several national chains, including Costco and Wal-mart and online through Amazon.com. The outbreak began in July and is ongoing. Because the product has a shelf life of one year, federal health officials are concerned that the products remain tucked away in home freezers and pantries. Last month, officials at the Rhode Island Department of Health said they thought the contamination had been caused by tainted black pepper that was used to coat the salami. Tests showed that the same strain of salmonella involved in the outbreak was present in two open containers of black pepper at Daniele's plant in Burrillville, R.I. State officials said Daniele used two suppliers, Mincing Oversees Spice and Wholesome Spices, which both bought imported black pepper. Samples of pepper from both distributors tested positive for salmonella, according to state health officials. "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," David R. Gifford, the state's director of health, said in a statement. The Department of Agriculture regulates salami, but the Food and Drug Administration oversees black pepper and other food additives. An FDA spokesman said that the agency did not know where the pepper originated and that its joint investigation with USDA continues. Daniele, which has suspended salami production, said in a statement it has changed its spice suppliers and will now use only irradiated pepper, which undergoes a process designed to kill bacteria. Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with salmonella can have fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, salmonella infection can spread to the bloodstream and result in severe illnesses such as arterial infections and arthritis. Health officials say anyone who experiences any of these symptoms after eating an Italian sausage should seek medical help.
The products subject to recall include:
-- 3-ounce packages of "DANIELE NATURALE SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER." *
Approximately 6-pound packages of "DANIELE SALAME GRANDE COATED WITH PORK FAT & PEPPER."*
-- 10-ounce packages of "DANIELE NATURALE SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER."
Catch weight packages of "DANIELE PEPPER SALAME."
-- 9-ounce packages of "BLACK BEAR OF THE BLACK FOREST BABY GENOA PEPPER SALAME."
-- 20-ounce packages of "DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SMOKED SALAME, PEPPERED SALAME, RUSTIC SALAME."
-- 340- and 454-gram packages of "DANIELE SURTIDO FINO ITALIANO, SALAMI GENOA CON PIMIENTA, LOMO CAPOCOLLO, SALAMI CALABRESE."
-- 16-ounce packages of "DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO."
-- 8-ounce packages of "DIETZ & WATSON ARTISAN COLLECTION PARTY PLATTER PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO."
-- 8-ounce packages of "DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO."
-- 16-ounce packages of "DANIELE GOURMET COMBO PACK, PEPPER SALAME, CAPOCOLLO, CALABRESE."
-- 500-gram packages of "DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK EMBALLAGE ASSORTI GOURMET ITALIEN, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, CALABRESE PIQUANT, SALAMI AU POIVRE, HOT CAPOCOLLO, CAPOCOLLO PIQUANT."
-- 8-ounce packages of "BOAR'S HEAD BRAND ALL NATURAL SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER."
-- Catch weight packages of "DIETZ & WATSON ARTISAN COLLECTION, BABY GENOA PEPPER SALAME, MADE WITH 100% PORK COATED WITH BLACK PEPPER AND PORK FAT."
-- 20-ounce variety packages of "DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SWEET SOPRESSATA, PEPPERED GENOA, MILANO SALAME."
-- 21-ounce variety packages of "DANIELE GOURMET ITALIAN DELI SELECTION, SWEET SOPRESSATA SALAMI, PEPPERED GENOA SALAMI, HOT SOPRESSATA SALAMI, MILANO SALAMI, SALAMI SOPRESSATA DOUX, SALAMI GENOA POIVRÉ, SALAMI SOPRESSATA PIQUANT, SALAMI MILANO."
-- 7-ounce packages of "DANIELE SALAME BITES PEPPER SALAME."
-- 14-ounce packages of "DANIELE GOURMET ITALIAN DELI SELECTION ASSORTMENT DE FINES CHARCUTERIE ITALIENNE, SWEET SOPRESSATA SALAMI, MILANO SALAMI, SALAMI SOPRESSATA DOUX, SALAMI MILANO."
-- Catch weight packages of "DANIELE NATURALE SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER."
-- 32-ounce variety packages of "DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SWEET SOPRESSATA, PEPPERED GENOA, MILANO SALAME."
Each package bears a label with establishment number "EST. 9992" or "EST. 54" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The establishment is recalling all the products listed above which are currently in commerce. These products were distributed to retail establishments nationwide, as well as internationally.
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