Heartland Foods, a distributor of specialty food ingredients, has issued a recall of ground black pepper after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it could be contaminated with salmonella.
The firm told FoodNavigator-USA.com that it had been approached by the FDA, which recommended that Heartland Foods issue a recall because it sources black pepper from a supplier connected with the salmonella outbreak linked to salami products from Rhode Island company Daniele International.
At this stage, no other black pepper distributors have issued recalls. Heartland would not reveal the name of its supplier, but said it was not connected with Wholesome Spice, the company that announced a recall of red pepper, also this week, after salmonella was found in its product at Daniele’s facility.
The FDA also refused to name Heartland Foods’ black pepper supplier, but said that it had found salmonella in a sample it collected at Heartland as part of its investigation.
An FDA spokesperson told this website: "It is a different strain than the outbreak strain. At the moment we don't have information suggesting that there is a problem higher up in the supply chain."
The Indianapolis-based firm has announced a recall of all coarse ground black pepper potentially distributed between October 19, 2009 and February 17, 2010. The product was supplied in one-, four-, and eight-pound containers and carries the Heartland Foods company logo.
On Friday, the FDA issued an update on its progress with the investigation, in which it said it was actively investigating the supply chains of both black and red pepper used in the manufacturing of the recalled meat products.
The FDA is currently investigating 153 composite pepper samples, representing more than 4,000 individual samples of both black and red pepper.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it has recorded 238 illnesses across 44 states and the District of Columbia as a result of the strain linked to Daniele’s salami products, but because it is a common strain, “public health investigators may determine that some of the illnesses are not part of this outbreak.”
The US Department of Agriculture regulates the safety of meat products, including the recalled salami from Daniele. A list of the recalled salami products can be found online here .