Wholesome Spice of Brooklyn, NY is recalling all lots of 25 lb boxes of Crushed Red Pepper sold between 4/6/09 and 1/20/10, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The 25 lb boxes of Crushed Red pepper were distributed in the Northeastern U.S.. The product was not sold on the retail level to consumers.

The Crushed Red Pepper product is packaged in a clear plastic bag which is placed inside of a cardboard box with an adhesive white label with a blue border and blue and black lettering. The brand name on the product labels is WHOLESOME SPICES. The product name is listed as CRUSHED RED PEPPER.

In the above news release, Wholesome Spice said, “It cannot be determined at this time if this product has been related to any illnesses to date.”

But Ernest M. Julian, Rhode Island’s chief of food protection, said it was “highly likely” that Wholesome’s crushed red pepper had led to illness.

The 238 people who had confirmed cases of salmonella in this outbreak included at least one who had eaten Daniele’s “Hot Salame Panino.” The person did not have any of the panino left at home, but salmonella was found in a sample of panino from the Daniele plant and also in samples of Wholesome crushed red pepper.

“Can you say it definitely made someone sick? Not really,” Julian said. “Is it highly likely that was the cause of the illness? Yes.”

Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection, and the illness usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment, but infants, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems sometimes develop severe illness. In this outbreak, at least 46 people were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.