The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated that black pepper may be responsible for the salmonella outbreak traced to Daniele International Inc., which recalled 1.24m pounds of salami on January 23 and a further 17,235 pounds on January 31. Officials from the Rhode Island Department of Health discovered a strain of salmonella known as Salmonella Montevideo in an open container of black pepper at the company’s salami manufacturing facility that matched the outbreak strain. More than 200 illnesses have been connected with the outbreak across 41 states and the District of Columbia.
Kalsec, a Michigan-based company, claims that oleoresins and aquaresins could provide a safer alternative to ground black pepper, while retaining the same pungency and aroma of ground pepper.
Spice oleoresins, such as black pepper oleoresins, are a natural mixture of oil and resin extracted from spices that can be of benefit to the food processing industry for their standardized flavor.
The company’s director of flavors, Dr John Weaver, said: “The process of producing an oleoresin results in an extract free from enzymes and vastly superior in microbiological control thus providing an easy-to-use, safe product that can provide consistency in your application.”
The recalled ready-to-eat salami was sold at Costco and other national retailers under the Daniele, Black Bear, Dietz & Watson and Boars Head labels.
At least two food poisoning lawsuits have been filed against the Rhode Island company in connection with illnesses resulting from the tainted salami.
The FDA has said that it will alert the public if it finds any risks associated with black pepper, but so far tests on other samples have come back negative for salmonella.