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Spices can be dangerous products to New Jersey consumers

Many New Jersey consumers use spices to take ordinary meals and transform them into culinary experiences from around the world. Sadly, the spices used to do so can also be dangerous products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted an extensive investigation into the safety of the spices consumed in the United States. In its report, issued in June of last year, it was discovered that over 80 percent of the spices used here in the United States are contaminated with Salmonella.

The most recent discovery of Salmonella Duisburg in a spice product occurred during a routine sampling of products by FDA inspectors. The presence of the organism prompted a recall of Kirkland Signature Coarse Ground Malabar Pepper manufactured by Olde Thompson Inc. The product is sold only at Costco stores nationwide.

It is estimated that somewhere between 130,000 and 140,000 of the 12.7-ounce plastic jars of pepper were sold from April 4 through June 4. All of the containers subject to the recall have a March 2017 "best before" date. Costco used an automated calling system to inform affected members of the recall.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 21 confirmed cases of Salmonella Duisburg occurred from 2000 through 2010. However, that does not reduce the risk for the elderly, children or anyone whose immune system is compromised of contracting a fatal infection from the organism. In a healthy person, Salmonella can cause fever and a variety of gastrointestinal issues.

This latest recall may remind New Jersey consumers that dangerous products line the shelves of our nation's retailers. The majority of the time, the contamination is harmless, but it is those rare instances where it is deadly for which agencies such as the FDA and CDC search. Individuals who become seriously ill -- or the family of someone who dies -- from the consumption of a contaminated food product may file product liability claims. Any financial restitution received as the result of a successfully litigated claim could defray the costs and other monetary damages associated with the serious or fatal illness.

Source:, "Costco Black Pepper Recalled for Possible Salmonella Contamination", , June 6, 2014

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