Pork barbecue with vinegar and pepper-based sauce is the source of 23 per cent of salmonella-positive samples the U.S. Department of Agriculture reviewed from 2005 to 2010. The contamination has not caused any known illnesses.
Exactly what part of the dish is contaminating it with salmonella isn’t clear. FSIS notes that it “may have come from the addition of contaminated ingredients (such as the pepper) to the sauce, or from cross-contamination of the product or sauce in the post lethality processing environment.”
During processing of these products, the pork was cooked first, and the barbecue sauce was added after the cooking step. The lack of a lethality treatment for the sauce or its ingredients could result in contamination of the final product.
Meatingplace.com reports inspectors were told to plan an awareness meeting on the subject, and to ensure that the plants they inspect have a HACCP plan that enables them to determine whether the establishment had a way of evaluating the safety of the ingredients added after the lethality step.