"Papaya exposure" could be lethal
A recall on papayas has been expanded to three brands, with more recalls possible, after the Food and Drug Administration narrowed in on the source of a salmonella outbreak that has been blamed for at least one death and has sickened over 100 more dating back to May.
The FDA is now advising that consumers dispose of all Maradol papayas grown on the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico which is believed to be the source of the outbreak. Specifically, three brands of this variety of papaya have been recalled: Caribeña brand papayas, distributed by Grande Produce; certain Cavi brand papayas distributed by Agroson’s; and Valery brand papayas, distributed by Freshtex Produce, LLC. (Links lead to the individual recalls.) The FDA also warns that it’s continuing to determine if other brands of papayas also came from this farm and suggests, for now, “consumers should ask their retailers where their papayas came from.” Other farms are also seeing increased testing as an additional precaution. However, as the FDA notes, Mexican papayas have routinely been screened for salmonella since 2011 as part of the importing process.
The outbreak, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first became aware of on June 26, included dozens of illnesses reported as far back as May 17. The CDC was able to identify one illness cluster in Maryland which linked these cases of salmonella to papayas bought at a store in the Baltimore area. That led to the first advisory to avoid Caribeña brand papayas on July 26. However, the number of illness has continued to grow. The CDC now reports 109 cases across 16 states including 35 hospitalizations and 1 reported death in New York City. The currently affected states are CT, DE, IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, NC, NJ, NY, OK, PA, VA, and WI.
The FDA advises not only that consumers dispose of these papayas if they have them, but states, “For refrigerators and other food preparation surfaces and food cutting utensils that may have come in contact with potentially contaminated papayas, it is very important that the consumers thoroughly clean and sanitize these areas and items.” The FDA also recommends inquiring at restaurants about where their papayas come from.
As of yesterday’s most recent update the FDA states, “FDA, CDC, state, and local health officials continue to actively investigate the cases with papaya exposure and will provide updates as additional information becomes available.”
This story originally appeared on Foodandwine.com.