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Daniele International Salame/Salami and Wholesome Spice Ground Pepper Salmonella Outbreak

In early July of 2009, public health officials noticed an uptick in the number of people testing positive for a matching strain of Salmonella Montevideo, and began investigating whether a common source was making all of these individuals ill.

By January 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials in multiple states had conducted an epidemiologic study comparing foods eaten by 41 ill and 41 well persons. Preliminary analysis of this study has suggested salami as a possible source of illness, and on January 20, 2010 the Washington State Department of Health announced that 3 unopened packages of Daniele Salame purchased at Costco were positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo that had been isolated from Salmonella victims in July of the previous year.

On January 23, 2010, Daniele announced a voluntary recall of approximately 1,240,000 pounds of ready-to-eat varieties of Italian sausage products because of potential Salmonella contamination. The traceback efforts by the various health officials across the country continued in an attempt to determine how Daniele’s product initially became contaminated with Salmonella.

By February 2010, pepper used in the Daniele salame/salami products had been identified as the source of the Salmonella outbreak. On February 25, Wholesome spice recalled all of its 25-pound lots of crushed red pepper produced between 4/6/09 and 1/20/10 for potential Salmonella contamination.

Environmental samples were collected from Daniele’s Burrillville, Rhode Island facility, known as Plant #54. A sample collected from a floor drain cap was a positive genetic match to the outbreak strain of Salmonella.

The CDC confirmed at least 272 people in 44 states who had been infected with a genetically indistinguishable strain of Salmonella Montevideo after eating the contaminated salame/salami.

In addition, Salmonella Senftenberg, a different serotype of Salmonella, was found in Daniele product food samples from retail and a patient household during the outbreak investigation, as well as from an environmental sample taken from Daniele’s plant. PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the CDC, identified 11 persons who had illness caused by Salmonella Senftenberg with matching PFGE patterns between July 1, 2009 and April 28, 2010.

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