FDA: Avoid papayas grown in Mexico after salmonella outbreak

The affected fruit can be identified by the PLU sticker cavi MEXICO 4395

The affected fruit can be identified by the PLU sticker cavi MEXICO 4395

The recall was initiated after Freshtex Produce was notified by the FDA on August 4 that other brands of Maradol papayas from the farm, Carica de Campeche, had tested positive for Salmonella. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. Boxes provided to wholesalers are stamped with CARICA DE CAMPECHE on the upper left side of the box.

Thirty-six people in NY and 26 in New Jersey have been infected; the other 47 have been sickened in 12 other states.

Maradol papayas are a large, oval fruit that weighs three or more pounds, with green skins that turn yellow when the fruit is ripe. That led to the first advisory to avoid Caribeña brand papayas on July 26.

Grande Produce of San Juan, TX, and Agroson's Produce of New York City already recalled whole, fresh maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Southern Mexico. The bacteria has not been linked to OH, but has been found in nearby states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and others.

The FDA was more specific in its outbreak update on Monday evening. The FDA has found three other strains-Salmonella Agona, Salmonella Gaminara and Salmonella Senftenberg-in papayas imported from Mexico, identifying the "Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche papaya farm in Mexico as a likely source of the outbreak". This product was further to downstream customers, including retail consumers.

States now affected include Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

"Papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm tested positive for Salmonella Kiambu, Salmonella Thompson, Salmonella Agona, Salmonella Senftenberg, and Salmonella Gaminara", FDA reported Friday morning.

No other papayas distributed by Freshtex Produce LLC are subject to the recall. When in doubt, don't eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.

The FDA is increasing testing of papayas from Mexico to determine whether fruit from other farms could be contaminated.

Editor's note: Because of the popularity of papayas in Mexican and Hispanic cuisine, public health officials say people in those groups are at particular risk during the current outbreak.

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