Black pepper investigation continues

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — Two samples of black pepper taken by Food and Drug Administration inspectors at Daniele International Inc.’s processing facility in Rhode Island have tested positive for Salmonella Montevideo, the same strain linked to a foodborne illness outbreak that has sickened 252 in 44 states.

The samples were from two companies, the Wholesome Spice Co., Brooklyn, N.Y., and Mincing Overseas Spice Co., Dayton, N.J. Both companies have initiated recalls and are working with the F.D.A. to identify any additional customers and determine if additional recalls are required, according to the agency.

The F.D.A. is working with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the state of Rhode Island and other states to determine the extent to which pepper played a role in the Salmonella Montevideo outbreak. The agency has collected 190 composite pepper samples, which represent more than 4,800 sub-samples, at various locations in the supply chain.

To date, three samples have been linked to the Salmonella Montevideo outbreak. On March 12, the F.D.A. announced that samples collected at Daniele International, Inc. linked crushed red pepper supplied by the Wholesome Spice Co. to the outbreak strain.

Two additional companies have initiated recalls related to the Food and Drug Administration’s investigation into the source of a Salmonella outbreak that has been traced to black and red pepper as potential sources of contamination. Dutch Valley Food Distributors, Inc., Myerstown, Pa., is recalling a variety of seasonings and dip mixes sold under the Bulk Foods, Inc. brand. In addition, the Frontier Natural Co-Op, Norway, Iowa, is recalling several products manufactured with non-organic black pepper that were sold under the Frontier and Whole Foods Market brands.
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