The CDC’s February 2 update on the Salmonella outbreak linked to salami and black pepper indicates that Washington, with 15 victims, is among the hardest hit states in the outbreak.  Only California and New York, with 30 and 16 victims respectively, have more sick residents.  Here is a distribution map of illnesses linked to the outbreak:

The latest update on the outbreak:

Rhode Island Department of Health has confirmed that the black pepper used to manufacture Daniele Inc’s salami products has tested postiive for Salmonella Montevideo, thus confirming that the pepper was the ultimate source of contamination in the outbreak.  Rhode Island has also indicated that black pepper from two of Daniele Inc’s spice suppliers (Wholesome Spices and Oversees Spice Company) has tested positive for the outbreak strain of salmonella.  This means that Wholesome and Oversees must have purchased their black pepper from the same supplier. 

This outbreak may not be over.  Unfortunately, the FDA and CDC have been largely silent on the nature of the ongoing risk to the public.  And Wholesome and Oversees have not yet heeded calls to tell the public whether they sold contaminated product to other companies, so we do not yet know whether other food producers have been using the contaminated product.  In fact, it seems very likely that they did.  There is some indication that certain outbreak victims had no exposure to salami whatsoever in the timeframe of their illnesses, yet they match the outbreak strain of Salmonella.  The implication is that there is, in fact, another food that is, or was, making people sick.