Salami Has Caused Salmonella Outbreaks

Attorney Fred Pritzker investigated the multistate Salmonella Montevideo outbreak linked to Daniele salami (salame).

In response to this outbreak, in January and February of 2010, Daniele International Inc. recalled over 1,400,000 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) varieties of salami/salame. These products were sold under the following brands: Daniele, Black Bear of the Black Forest, Dietz and Watson, Boar’s Head, and possibly others (see the product list on this page). The retailers who received the recalled salami include the following: Costco, Fred Meyer, Fry’s Food and Drug, Haggen, Hilander, Kroger, Market Basket, Quality Food Center – Fresh Fare, Ralphs – Ralphs Fresh Fair, Sams Clubs, Scotts, Smiths – Smiths Marketplace, Stop and Shop, Top Food, Waldbaums, Walmart, Weis.

According to the CDC, the salami Salmonella outbreak sickened at least 245 people in 44 states:

AK (2), AL (2), AZ (7), CA (30), CO (5), CT (5), DC (1), DE (3), FL (3), GA (3), IA (1), ID (4), IL (19), IN (4), KS (5), LA (1), MA (14), MD (1), ME (1), MI (4), MN (6), MO (2), MS (1), NC (11), ND (1), NE (3), NH (2), NJ (9), NM (2), NY (18), OH (9), OK (1), OR (9), PA (7), RI (2), SC (1), SD (3), TN (5), TX (7), UT (9), VA (1), WA (17), WI (1), WV (1), and WY (2).

The initial recall followed isolation of Salmonella in a private laboratory from a retail sample of a salami product produced by Daniele International; this product was different than the sliced salami variety pack purchased at different grocery store locations by the 16 ill persons. FSIS reviewed and affirmed these private laboratory results.

The Salmonella strain initially found by the private laboratory was different from the strains causing the outbreak. However, the Washington State Department of Health subsequently tested the bacterial culture provided by the private laboratory (the salami was not provided) and identified two different Salmonella serotypes, the strain found by the private lab and Salmonella Montevideo indistinguishable from the outbreak strain.

In addition, the Iowa Department of Public Health and public health officials in Plymouth County, Iowa investigated a patient with Salmonella Montevideo infection indistinguishable from the outbreak strain and discovered an open sliced salami variety pack frozen at the patient’s home. The patient had eaten this product before becoming ill. This sliced salami variety pack was the same as that purchased by 16 other ill persons. Using DNA analysis, the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory (Iowa’s public health laboratory) confirmed that the Salmonella isolated from this leftover salami was indistinguishable from the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo.

The recall was expanded as a result of a confirmed finding of Salmonella in an unopened salami product reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The product was sampled during the course of an ongoing investigation of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella serotype Montevideo illnesses. The product tested was not included in the previous recall issued January 23, 2010, but is similar to products bought by customers who later became sick and were identified as part of the Montevideo investigation. The company believes that black pepper is a possible source of contamination.

Recent test results provided by the Rhode Island Department of Health revealed that an opened container of black pepper used in the manufacturing of at least some of the recalled Daniele salami products was positive for Salmonella Montevideo and that the DNA fingerprint matched the outbreak strain.