Originally created 09/24/98

Possible salmonella exposure prompts recall



WASHINGTON -- A Cajun dressing mix distributed in nine states has been recalled because of possible salmonella contamination after 62 people fell ill at a Louisiana wedding, officials said.

Savoie's Sausage & Food Products Inc., of Opelousas, La., is voluntarily recalling about 500,000 pounds of frozen "Savoie's Dressing Mix," officials at the Agriculture Department said.

The product was distributed to retail food stores in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

The problem was discovered after the product was served at an Aug. 15 wedding in Louisiana and linked to 62 illnesses, including nine people admitted to a hospital for fever and diarrhea.

Product samples tested positive for salmonella, officials said.

"USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased and stored this product can check their freezers," said Thomas J. Billy, administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. He urged consumers to return the product to the place of purchase.

"Real Cajun! SAVOIE'S Dressing Mix" is a regional ground pork and chicken product in gravy that is usually prepared with rice.

All one-pound uncoded packages of the product are being recalled. Coded products subject to recall have a 4-digit number stamped on the side of the container with the first three digits from "195" to "258" and with "8" as the last digit. "EST. 13346" appears inside the USDA inspection seal on the product label.

No other product is affected by the recall.

Consumption of food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, a potentially serious illness. Symptoms of salmonellosis include the sudden onset of flu-like symptoms such as stomach pains, diarrhea, nausea, chills, fever and headache.