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How the Big Salami Turned Into the Big Salmonella

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted a notice that at least 245 people have been infected with the outbreat strain of Salmonella Montevideo. These unfortunate folks are spread about in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The first reported case was on our about July 1, 2009. (2009!!) No deaths are recorded at present.

After a long and tortuous forensics investigation, the CDC has concluded that the people who were exposed with this salmonella strain consumed salami (and perhaps other prepared meats) produced by Daniele International of Pascoag, RI. The apparent vector is the crushed red and black pepper used in the meats, and not the meat itself! The CDC continues its investigation into the supply chain.

I’d never heard of dried pepper being the culprit in such a poisoning, although jalapeƱo and Serrano peppers have been implicated in other food-borne illness cases. I use a lot of red pepper in my cooking, and naturally this report caught my eye. The CDC notes, however, that none of the offending pepper flakes (or black pepper) was sold directly to consumers. Also, Daniele International appears to be the only food preparer who was directly affected. Naturally, with the investigation ongoing, this may change in the future.

So, why hasn’t this incident gotten the press that other recent poisonings have garnered? Beats me; maybe some Big Salami is putting the kibosh on the reports? Or maybe the news officials don’t see prepared Italian cold cuts to be the same level of threat as lettuce? Who knows…

Enjoy the (All Too Spicy Meats) Heat!

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