The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) announces that recent test results strongly suggest black pepper is the source of the Salmonella outbreak associated with Daniele Inc. Daniele purchased black pepper from two different distributors (Mincing Oversees Spice Company and Wholesome Spices) who buy imported black pepper. Samples of pepper from both distributors have tested positive for Salmonella. All other tests of employees and the facilities are negative at this time. These findings are consistent with Daniele Inc.’s history of no Salmonella findings by in-house testing and USDA periodic testing. No additional food items have been added to the recall list.

As part of the outbreak investigation, it was determined that both distributors who supplied black pepper to Daniele imported pepper from common sources.

“These recent findings show that black pepper used during the manufacturing process at Daniele was the likely source of this outbreak,” said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “This outbreak only underscores the importance of closely monitoring food that is imported from other countries as they may not have the same food safety standards as we do.”

Daniele now purchases black pepper that has already been treated to assure the elimination of Salmonella and other infectious organisms. Daniele is testing all lots of new products before they leave the manufacturing plant for distribution. In addition, the company continues to clean and sanitize all areas and equipment to ensure safe products.

HEALTH is working with FDA to determine any other distribution of this black pepper in Rhode Island.