Salmonella Found in Crushed Red Pepper
Wholesale Red Pepper Recalled; FDA Says Retail Products May Be Next
Feb. 26, 2010 -- Two wholesale lots of crushed red pepper linked to the
ongoing national salmonella outbreak have been recalled, and the FDA is looking
at whether to recall retail products.
The FDA has confirmed salmonella contamination of red pepper samples
collected at Daniele International Inc. in Rhode Island.
Sausages made by Daniele have previously been linked to the salmonella
It's not yet clear whether the salmonella in the red pepper is the same
strain as the Montevideo strain that has sickened at least 238 people in 44
states and the District of Columbia. While investigating this outbreak, the CDC
found that a different type of salmonella, the Seftenberg strain, is also
causing food-borne illness in the U.S.
The unopened containers of crushed red pepper found to be contaminated with
salmonella were made by Wholesome Spice of Brooklyn, N.Y. As a result, the
company has recalled all lots of 25-pound boxes of crushed red pepper it sold
between April 6, 2009, and Jan. 20, 2010.
These large boxes of pepper were distributed to wholesale suppliers
throughout the Northeast. They were not sold at the retail level. FDA spokesman
Sebastian Cianci tells WebMD the agency is working with Wholesome Spice to
identify the customers who got the recalled product and to determine whether a
recall of retail products will be necessary.
No deaths have been reported in the Salmonella Montevideo outbreak,
although about a fourth of the victims have been hospitalized.
The FDA's investigation initially discovered the outbreak strain of
salmonella in an open container of black pepper from the Daniele sausage plant.
But tests of closed black-pepper containers were negative, suggesting that this
form of pepper became contaminated at the plant after it was opened.
In healthy people, salmonella usually causes fever, diarrhea (which may be
bloody), nausea, vomiting, and/or abdominal pain or cramps. Less commonly,
salmonella gets into the bloodstream and causes life-threatening illnesses.
Salmonella can be fatal in young children, frail elderly people, and people
with weakened immune systems.