Statistics about thesalmonella montevideo and senftenberg outbreak linked to salami and pepper were recently updated. According to the CDC, 272 people were sickened by Salmonella montevideo from since July 2009 after consuming salami that was manufactured using salmonella-contaminated red and black pepper. The salami was manufactured and sold by a Rhode Island company called Daniele Inc. The pepper (both black and red), which has long been known to have been the original source of contamination, was imported and sold by two companies: Wholesome Spice Company and Mincing Oversease Spice Company.
Originally, Rhode Island health officials discovered that it was the pepper, rather than the meat itself, that was originally contaminated. The CDC states:
Testing by the Rhode Island Department of Public Health found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo in samples of black and red pepper intended for use in the production of Italian-style meats at Daniele International Inc. Since then, several recalls have been issued.
Interestingly, Salmonella senftenberg illnesses that occurred as a result of consuming the contaminated product are not counted in the CDC’s official case count. Why I do not know. Packages from consumer households tested positive for both Salmonella Montevideo and Senftenberg, which seems to be the smoking gun. Possibly the DNA fingerprint of the senftenberg strains are different, making it more difficult to include them as part of the outbreak.
Another concern is that the contaminated pepper is still out there. The CDC believes that it might be, and may pose an ongoing health risk to consumers. The most recent confirmed illness in the outbreak occurred on April 14, 2010, long after the peak of illness in the outbreak, which was November 2009. With regard to the ongoing threat to public health, the CDC states:
The numbers of new cases have declined substantially since the peak in November 2009, but some of the recalled products have long shelf-lives and could cause illness if consumed. Consumers should avoid eating recalled products.