A Rhode Island meat company recalled 1.24 million pounds of pepper-coated salami on Saturday over concerns about salmonella contamination.
The recall by Daniele International Inc. comes amid a multistate investigation of a salmonella outbreak that’s sickened 184 people in 38 states since July.
Daniele Inc. has been identified as the source of the ongoing outbreak by William Keene, a senior epidemiologist at the public health division in Oregon, where eight people have gotten sick.
“This has been a very long and often frustrating investigation,” Keene said in a statement. “We had gone down a lot of dead ends until the puzzle pieces finally started to fit together about this outbreak.”
But Daniele spokesman Jason Maloni said “there’s no evidence that points to us” as the source.
Maloni said 11 people who got sick ate salami from the Daniele Italian Brand Gourmet Pack, but that Rhode Island and federal officials have not linked the company’s products with the outbreak.
“We’re taking the prudent step in the event that further evidence does point to us,” he said of the recall. “It is our responsibility to take this aggressive step.”
In Washington, where 14 cases of the salmonella outbreak have been reported since July, officials are monitoring the situation, said Tim Church, spokesman for the state Department of Health.
One person from Washington was hospitalized, but all have recovered, Church said.
“We know investigations have implicated salami nationally, but that’s really all we know. There’s more work that needs to be done on this,” Church said.
Maloni said two of the Daniele’s three plants have been tested and found free of the bacteria. Additional testing is planned.
“Our goal right now is to take prudent, proactive measures to do everything possible to remove any products that do not meet our high standards for quality and taste,” Daniele Inc.’s vice president of sales, Davide Dukcevich, said in a statement.
Eating food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, a potentially life-threatening bacterial foodborne illness.
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