Costco Wholesale is warning between 130,000 and 140,000 members not to use certain packages of the firm’s Kirkland Signature Coarse Ground Malabar Black Pepper because the spice might be contaminated with salmonella.
Craig Wilson, Costco’s vice president for food safety, said Thursday that the company was making automated phone calls as a precaution after federal Food and Drug Administration officials detected Salmonella Duisburg, a rare strain, in some pepper samples in Texas. The affected bottles of ground black pepper have a best before date of March 2017, he said.
Letters advising Costco consumers typically follow the calls, which are routine whenever the Issaquah, Washington-based company learns of a potential food recall. No illnesses have been linked to the pepper, Wilson said.
Spices have come under scrutiny recently after an FDA report indicated that nearly 7 percent of spices imported to the U.S. over a three-year period were contaminated with salmonella.
Testing of imported spices between 2007 and 2010 showed that they were twice as likely as other inspected foods to be tainted with the pathogen. More than 80 different types of salmonella were detected.
Spices have been linked to 14 known outbreaks around the world since 1973, the FDA reported, causing nearly 2,000 illnesses, including many in children. In 2009 and 2010, black and red pepper used in salami sickened 272 people in 44 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kirkland Signature Coarse Ground Malabar Black Pepper
First published June 5 2014, 5:20 PM
JoNel Aleccia has been a senior health reporter and editor for NBC News since 2008. In that role, Aleccia is responsible for breaking news, enterprise and investigative stories about consumer health and health policy issues for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com. Send her an email here.
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Aleccia joined msnbc.com and, later, NBC News, after more than 25 years as a reporter, editor and columnist covering health, education, social issues and regional government at newspapers throughout the Northwest.
Aleccia is the co-recipient of two Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Awards, in 2009 and 2011, fromthe National Press Club. She also has received multiple regional and local journalism awards. Aleccia lives in Redmond, Wash. She is married and the mother of two grown children.