FDA Update on the Investigation into the Salmonella Montevideo Outbreak

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 11, 2010.  As part of the Salmonella Montevideo investigation, the Food and Drug Administration has been actively investigating the supply chain of black and red pepper supplied to Daniele International Inc., Pascoag, R.I.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 249 people have been infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Montevideo in at least 44 states and the District of Columbia. Analysis of an epidemiologic study comparing foods eaten by individuals who were sickened identified salami/salame as a possible source of illness: .

Daniele International Inc. recalled a variety of ready-to-eat Italian-style meats after Salmonella was associated with its products. A complete listing of the recalled products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, can be found at:

As a result of the investigation, a number of spice products are now being recalled by Mincing Overseas Spice Company, Dayton, N.J.; and Wholesome Spice Company, Brooklyn, N.Y. Both supply pepper to Daniele International Inc. Based on recent test results, Mincing Overseas Spice Company and Wholesome Spice Company are conducting new recalls.

  • Products Recalled by Mincing Overseas Spice Company
    • Black Pepper Lot 3258 in 50-pound, 25-pound, and 20-pound cartons with Mincing Overseas Spice Company’s name on the outside
    • Black Pepper Lot 3309 in 50-pound, 25-pound, and 20-pound cartons with Mincing Overseas Spice Company’s name on the outside.
  • Products Recalled by Wholesome Spice Company
    • Ground Red Pepper sold to Daniele International Inc.
    • Whole Black Pepper sold to Daniele International Inc.
    • Crushed Red Pepper sold from April 6, 2009, to Jan. 20, 2010 in 25-pound boxes (Recalled on Feb. 25.)

Both Mincing Overseas Spice Company and Wholesome Spice Company sell products directly to commercial customers, who may have incorporated them into their own products.

To date, two of Mincing Overseas Spice Company’s distributors, Dutch Valley Food Distributors, Inc. and Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, have announced voluntary recalls of potentially contaminated product.

Dutch Valley Food Distributors, Inc. is voluntarily recalling a variety of seasonings and dip mixes sold under the Bulk Foods Inc. label. The list of products being recalled can be found in the Dutch Valley Food Distributors, Inc. press release.

Frontier Natural Products Co-Op is voluntarily recalling several of its products manufactured with non-organic black pepper that were sold under the Frontier brand and under the Whole Foods Market brands. Please check Frontier Natural Products Co-Op press release for a listing of recalled products.

Restaurateurs, foodservice operators, and consumers should not use the products being recalled by either of these companies.

The FDA continues to work with Mincing Overseas Spice Company and Wholesome Spice Company to identify customers who received the recalled product and determine if further recalls are necessary. Consumers are encouraged to frequently check FDA’s website for the latest company recall information.

The FDA is working with CDC, USDA-FSIS, the state of Rhode Island and other states to determine the extent to which pepper played in the Salmonella Montevideo outbreak. The Agency has collected 153 composite pepper samples, which represent more than 3,600 subsamples, at various locations in the supply chain. Samples from four products collected at Daniele International Inc. tested positive for Salmonella. Samples of crushed red pepper have tested positive for the outbreak strain; the FDA is working to determine if the type of Salmonella found in the other products also matches the outbreak strain.

Recalls Based on FDA Samples Collected at Daniele International Inc.

Recalled Product Company Recalling Point of Sample Collection Outbreak Strain
Crushed Red Pepper Wholesome Spice Company Daniele International Inc Yes
Ground Red Pepper Wholesome Spice Company Daniele International Inc Pending
Whole Black Pepper Wholesome Spice Company Daniele International Inc Pending
Black Pepper Lot 3258 Mincing Overseas Spice Company Daniele International Inc. Pending

As part of FDA’s investigation, the Agency collected samples of pepper from other customers who received product from Mincing Overseas Spice Company and Wholesome Spice Company. Thus far, two of the samples collected have tested positive for types of Salmonella not associated with the current national Salmonella Montevideo outbreak. These findings prompted Heartland Foods Inc. to recall course ground pepper and Mincing Overseas Spice Company to recall black pepper lot 3309.

The FDA is in the process of taking a closer look at the handling of spices from farm to table and in the spring of 2009 began work on a spice risk profile. A risk profile is designed to capture the current state of knowledge related to an issue and identify any knowledge gaps.  This particular risk profile focuses on microbiological contaminants and filth issues related to spices.  Some members of the spice industry have already agreed to provide data to FDA for the risk profile. The risk profile will provide vital information to risk management decision-makers and will help the agency determine the best way to mitigate foodborne illness issues associated with spices.  Specifically it can help FDA determine:  how to allocate resources, whether guidance for industry or for FDA inspectors is appropriate, or even the need for new rulemaking.

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