FDA Updates Statement on Salmonella Montevideo Outbreak Investigation

The Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, recently reported it is continuing 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.

CDC reports that 207 people have been infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Montevideo in at least 42 states and the District of Columbia. Recently, CDC and public health officials in multiple states conducted an epidemiologic study by comparing foods eaten by 41 ill and 41 well persons. Preliminary analysis of this study suggested salami/salame as a possible source of illness.

On Jan. 23, 2010, Daniele International Inc. recalled ready-to-eat varieties of Italian style meats and expanded its recall a week later to include additional ready-to-eat meats. The recalled products, including salami and Hot Sopressata Calabrese, are regulated by the USDA. The recall can be accessed here.

Recent samples of black pepper collected by the Rhode Island Department of Health at Daniele International Inc. tested positive for Salmonella. One sample from an open container matched the outbreak strain. The remaining supply of pepper testing positive for Salmonella has been voluntarily placed on hold by both of Daniele's suppliers.

FDA is actively investigating the supply chain of the black pepper used in the manufacturing of the recalled meat products to see if it poses a risk to consumers. The agency has collected and is currently analyzing both domestic and imported black pepper samples. To date, all the samples collected and analyzed by FDA have tested negative for Salmonella; however, sample collection and analysis continues.

If FDA identifies a public health risk associated with black pepper, or any other product, the agency said it will take the appropriate action necessary to protect the publics health.

The recalled meat products have an extended shelf life up to one year. Consumers are advised to check the USDA list of the recalled products to make sure they do not have any of them in their homes. If they do, consumers should throw the products away immediately.

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.

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