A papaya-borne salmonella outbreak that has reached 12 states and killed one person spurred rare warnings from the U.S Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control.
The FDA told consumers to stay away from Caribeña brand Maradol papayas from Grande Produce, a company out of San Juan, Texas, and appeared annoyed at Grande Produce’s pace in addressing the problem.
“Grande Produce has informed the FDA that the company initiated a limited recall of their Caribeña brand Maradol papayas distributed nationwide from July 7 through July 18, 2017,” Tuesday's update on the FDA site stated. “As of July 25, 2017, Grande Produce has not issued a press release to notify consumers of their recall. Therefore, FDA is advising consumers to avoid all Caribeña brand Maradol papayas. The FDA also noted that there are illnesses in states where Grande Produce did not distribute papayas and is continuing its investigation.”
Neither Grande Produce’s website nor the FDA site carried any company notification of any papaya recall as of Wednesday morning.
As the FDA said, this seems to go beyond Grande Produce, which is why the CDC put on its website Tuesday, “The CDC recommends that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell Maradol papayas from Mexico until we learn more.”
The Maradol papaya grows green, ripens yellow and weighs at least 3 pounds.
Most of the 47 known cases in this salmonella spread have been found in New York (13) and New Jersey (12). The next most are in Virginia (six), Maryland (five) and Pennsylvania (four). There’s one case each in Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Utah, Texas, Massachusetts and Minnesota. The CDC reports 12 people hospitalized with one death in New York City.
Salmonella symptoms, which usually begin 12 hours to three days after infection, usually includes diarrhea, fever and cramps for four days to a week.
“In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics,” the FDA states. “Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. Children younger than five, the elderly, and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections.”
CONSUMER RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE FDA FOR HANDLING PAPAYAS DURING SALMONELLA OUTBREAK
▪ Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or new paper towel.
▪ Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
▪ Wipe up spills in the refrigerator immediately and clean the refrigerator regularly.
▪ Always wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitization process.