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FDA NEWS RELEASE

 

For Immediate Release: February 25, 2010

 

Media Inquiries: Michael Herndon, 301-796-4673, Michael.Herndon@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

 

FDA Update on the Investigation into the Salmonella Montevideo Outbreak

 

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 238 people have been infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Montevideo in at least 44 states and the District of Columbia. The CDC and public health officials in multiple states conducted an epidemiologic study by comparing foods eaten by 41 ill and 41 well persons. Analysis of this study identified salami/salame as a possible source of illness: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/montevideo/index.html.

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_Products/index.asp.

The FDA is actively investigating the supply chains of both black and red pepper used in the manufacturing of the recalled meat products.  The Agency has collected and is analyzing 153 composite pepper samples, which represent more than 4,000 individual samples.  To date, samples from two lots of crushed red pepper collected from Daniele International Inc. have tested positive for Salmonella. The FDA is working to determine if the type of Salmonella found in the samples matches the outbreak strain.

Based on FDA’s and the state of Rhode Island’s confirmed test results, the supplier of crushed red pepper, Wholesome Spice, Brooklyn, N.Y., is recalling 25-pound boxes of crushed red pepper sold from April 6, 2009, to Jan. 20, 2010: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm202113.htm. The FDA continues to investigate and work with Wholesome Spice to determine the source of the crushed red pepper contamination.

Wholesome Spice sells spices directly to commercial customers, who may have incorporated them into their own products. FDA is currently working with Wholesome Spice to identify the customers who received the recalled product and determine if further recalls are necessary.

The FDA continues to work with CDC, USDA-FSIS, the Rhode Island Department of Health, and other states to investigate the outbreak and will provide updates if new information becomes available.

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.html.