Daniele Inc., a maker of Italian-style specialty foods, is recalling about 1.24 million pounds of its ready-to-eat sausage products, including all pepper-coated Salame, following a salmonella outbreak that sickened 187 people in 39 U.S. states.
Preliminary tests indicated 11 sickened people had eaten Salame products from Daniele’s Italian Brand Gourmet Pack, the company said in a Jan. 23 statement. But it isn’t confirmed whether Daniele sausage, sold at grocery stores under brands including Black Bear Baby, Boar’s Head, and Dietz & Watson, is the source of the salmonella poisonings, company spokesman Jason Maloni said.
Most of the recalled meat was made with pepper, which Pascoag, R.I.-based Daniele believes is a possible source of salmonella contamination, Maloni said.
Starting today, Daniele will buy only irradiated pepper, Maloni said. “We don’t have any hard evidence, but we suspect the issue is the pepper,” Maloni said. The 1.24 million pounds being recalled accounts for about 8 percent of Daniele’s annual premium gourmet meat production.
Daniele’s recall comes after U.S. food safety regulators found salmonella in a sample of the company’s Salame taken from a Costco Wholesale Corp. store earlier this month. The regulators, including USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, have been investigating a series of illnesses stemming from a strain of salmonella known as Montevideo.
“The product tested was similar to products bought by customers who later became sick in the Montevideo investigation, but currently there is not a direct link,” FSIS said in a statement today. “The salmonella strain in the tested product does not appear to be the Montevideo strain of interest and further testing of the sample is ongoing at a state health partner laboratory.”
The 187 salmonella illnesses, including 30 in California, 15 in New York state and 14 in Washington state, were reported between July 1 and Jan. 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. Of those people, 35 were hospitalized, the agency said. No deaths have been reported.
Daniele said its Rhode Island facilities were inspected by the state’s health department last week and met all regulatory and food safety standards.
“While we conduct further tests, our goal right now is to take prudent, proactive measures to do everything possible to remove any products that do not meet our high standards for quality and taste,” Daniele’s vice president of sales Davide Dukcevich said in the Jan. 23 statement.
Daniele, which sells to Costco, Kroger Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers, expects to have the recall completed today, Maloni said. It hasn’t been determined whether Daniele will raise prices to account for any increased costs to use irradiated pepper, he said.
Read a complete list of Daniele products being recalled.