According to Katie Mulvaney at the Providence Rhode Island Journal, meat producer Daniele International has filed suit against the spice companies who supplied the Salmonella-contaminated pepper that led to Daniele’s recall of nearly 1.2 million pounds of meat and $1.5 million in refunds to customers.

Daniele filed suit Tuesday against Wholesome Spice and Seasonings Inc. and the Mincing Trading Corp. in U.S. District Court, saying it had incurred and expects to incur in the future substantial losses and expenses because it used their contaminated pepper to coat some of its gourmet meats.

The company accuses the spice manufacturers of negligence and breach of contract. According to the suit, the company was forced to recall 1.2 million pounds of its meat and refund $1.5 million to customers.

"The hallmarks of success in the specialty food industry are quality and reputation," the suit says.

Founded in 1945, Daniele produced cured meat products, including salami, prosciutto and pancetta that it sold to delis and supermarkets in the United States, Latin American and countries in Asia.

Daniele in 2009 purchased 50,000 pounds of pepper from Wholesome Spice and 40,000 pounds from Mincing, the suit says.

Beginning in July, public health officials nationwide observed a spike in people reporting poisoning symptoms resembling salmonella. During the six-month outbreak, the United States Centers for Disease Control identified at least 252 people in 44 states who were infected, the suit says.

Based on the CDC findings, Daniele recalled ready-to-eat pepper coated salami and other pepper-coated products in January. The Rhode Island Department of Health and other health officials linked the outbreak to black pepper used by Daniele. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that the contaminated black pepper and crushed red pepper had been produced by Wholesome and Mincing. The companies recalled the pepper.