Almost 150 sick by Salmonella from papayas

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Maradol papaya
Maradol papaya

Related tags Fruit Mexico Carica papaya

Three more states have illnesses as part of an outbreak of Salmonella linked to Maradol papayas from a Mexican farm.

A total of 141 people infected with Salmonella Kiambu (51) or Salmonella Thompson (90) have been reported from 19 states.

Forty-five ill people have been hospitalized and one person from New York City has died.

Maradol papayas from Carica de Campeche

Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico are the likely source.

Caribeña, Cavi and Valery brand papayas have been identified as brands produced by the farm and have been recalled.

Caribeña brand was distributed by Grande Produce; certain Cavi brand papayas by Agroson’s and Valery brand by Freshtex Produce, LLC.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve and retailers not sell Maradol papayas from the implicated farm in Mexico.

“If consumers aren’t sure if their Maradol papaya came from the Carica de Campeche farm, they should ask the place of purchase. When in doubt, don’t eat it; just throw it out.”

Illness dates range from May 17 to July 27 and ill people range in age from less than one to 95.

Among 136 ill people with available information, 83 are female and among 98 people with available information, 66 are of Hispanic ethnicity.

FDA import alert

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also added the farm to Import Alert (IA) 99-35, after testing found multiple strains of Salmonella in the fruit.

The agency has also increased testing of papayas from Mexico to see if fruit from other farms could be contaminated.

Salmonella strains matching the outbreak patterns by PFGE were only isolated from papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm.

Papayas from the farm tested positive for S. Kiambu, S. Thompson, Salmonella Agona, Salmonella Senftenberg, and Salmonella Gaminara.

The FDA is working with Mexican food safety authorities, Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA) and Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (COFEPRIS) on the outbreak investigation.

Mexican authorities are conducting inspections and follow up at firms of interest.

HLB: Outbreak linked to one grower

HLB Specialties, one of the largest papaya importers into the US, said the outbreak is limited to one grower in Mexico and the brands they distribute.

Papayas of other growers, brands, varieties and countries of origin are safe to eat.

The fruit is grown in countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and the US (Hawaii).

“Maradol Papayas are the large kind, weighing approximately three pounds and usually have a fully yellow skin when ripe,” ​said the firm.

“Formosa papayas, also known as Tainung papayas, are also large and similar to Maradol in size and weight, but they are greener and ready to eat when only half yellow. The small Brazilian Golden Papaya variety weighs around one pound and is also very sweet.”

Melissa Hartmann de Barros, director of communications at HLB Specialties, said: “We share [consumer] concern and caution, but we also want to provide as much information as possible, so that shoppers can make an educated decision when buying papayas.

“Consumers can rest assured that the other large papaya variety Formosa as well as the small Brazilian Golden variety are not implicated and are safe for consumption.”

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