To date, there are four (4) separate outbreaks linked to imported Maradol papayas from Mexico. Our lawyers are investigating these outbreaks.
The CDC and FDA are finding outbreak victims using the PulseNet, the national laboratory network that connects individual cases of Salmonella food poisoning to outbreaks. These connections are found with genetic testing methods, primarily pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS).
“Our team of Salmonella lawyers use PFGE and WGS test results as evidence to obtain compensation for our clients,” said attorney Ryan Osterholm. “This is about more than just money. Any company that sells contaminated food should be held accountable, particularly when the contaminant is a potentially deadly bacteria.”
When you contact our law firm, Ryan or another lawyer on our Bad Bug Law Team will ask you the following:
- Were you diagnosed with Salmonella, also referred to as salmonellosis?
- Did you eat a papaya before you got sick?
- Did you or your doctor contact your local health department regarding this diagnosis?
- Has the health department contacted you?
- Have isolates of the Salmonella bacterium found in you been sent to a lab for PFGE or WGS testing?
You may not know if PFGE or WGS testing was done. If not, that is okay. Our lawyers will find out for you if you hire them to represent you.
Who Will be Sued in a Lawsuit for Salmonella from Papayas?
It is extremely important to sue every company that is responsible for Salmonella illnesses caused by eating papayas. Our law firm looks at growers, importers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, and others. Even though you are part of a larger outbreak, your lawsuit may involve one or more different businesses. For example, if you ate a papaya at a restaurant but the others did not, you will have a suit against the restaurant.
It is also important to note that these are not generally class action lawsuits. This is because with class action suits the harm to each person suing has to be very, very similar. This is not the case with Salmonella outbreaks. Every person is uniquely sickened. We suggest you get a second opinion if a lawyer from another law firm tells you to join a class action. You can talk with Ryan and Brendan about this and how to protect your legal right to compensation: 1-888-377-8900 (toll free).
For more information, please see: “Salmonella Lawsuit: 5 Reasons to Sue Now.”
As of September 11, 2017 four brands of Maradol papayas have been recalled:
- Caribeña brand, distributed between July 10 and 19 by Grande Produce;
- certain Cavi brand papayas distributed by Agroson’s to wholesalers in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey from July 16-19 and available to consumers until July 31 (Only certain lot codes known to come from Carica de Campeche);
- Valery brand papayas, distributed by Freshtex Produce, LLC distributed from July 10-13;
- Frutas Selectas brand papayas, distributed by Bravo Produce to markets in the state of California between August 10 and 29.
These papayas are no longer on store shelves.
Mexican Papayas Tested Positive for Outbreak Strains of Salmonella
Papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm tested positive for the following types of Salmonella: Kiambu, Thompson, Agona, Senftenberg, and Gaminara, according to the FDA.
“Whole genome sequencing (WGS) is available for some clinical isolates and supports the relationships to papaya isolates identified by PFGE” (FDA).
Samples of papayas from Caraveo Produce in Tecomán, Mexico were determined to be positive with Salmonella Infantis and Newport, according to the FDA. “The shipment that tested positive was not released into US commerce; however, these Salmonella strains have at least one PFGE match to a sick person,” said the agency.
“WGS has shown two clinical samples are highly genetically related to two samples from the papaya shipment received from Caraveo Produce of Mexico. This indicates that papayas from previous shipment(s) imported by Caraveo Produce were the likely cause of these related illnesses” (FDA).
Papayas from El Zapotanito in La Huerta, Mexico were determined to be positive with Salmonella Urbana, according to the FDA. That shipment was not sold to the public; however, the PFGE pattern from this sample was found in recent clinical isolates from six outbreak victims sickened by the Urbana type.
“Three of four people interviewed reported eating papayas before they became ill. This indicates that papayas from previous shipment(s) from El Zapotanito were the likely cause of these related illnesses” (FDA).
Papayas from Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya de Tecomán y Costa Alegre, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, were determined to be positive with Salmonella Anatum, according to the FDA.
“Whole genome sequencing confirmed that the strain of Salmonella isolated from the papayas matched the genetic fingerprint for 14 cases of illness. The Maradol Papayas were available for sale until August 29, 2017. The FDA is working with the importer, Bravo Produce of San Ysidro, CA, to ensure all product is removed from the marketplace” (FDA).
Salmonella Anatum Outbreak
This is the first outbreak linked to papayas. People became ill from Salmonella Anatum from December 20, 2016, to April 8, 2017. Fourteen people were known to be sickened. Five of the were hospitalized, and one death was reported to the FDA and CDC from California. The states and number of illnesses were as follows:
- Arizona (1)
- California (12)
- Colorado (1).
These illnesses were investigated in the spring. At least 4 of the 14 purchased Maradol papayas at the same grocery store chain before they got sick. Although there was strong epidemiologic evidence indicating that papayas were the likely source of this outbreak, at the time, investigators could not determine the specific source of contaminated papayas.
This changed on September 4, 2017, when FDA testing found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Anatum in a sample taken from an imported papaya at the U.S.-Mexico border. The tainted papaya had been imported into the U.S. by Bravo Produce Inc. of San Ysidro, California. Bravo Produce Inc. was a supplier of Maradol papayas to the grocery store chain where four of seven ill people reported buying papayas. In response to this finding, Bravo Produce Inc. recalled Maradol papayas packed by Frutas Selectas de Tijuana, S. de RL de CV. The grower of the recalled Maradol papayas is Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya de Tecoman y Costa Alegre in Tijuana, Mexico.
Potentially contaminated papayas were distributed to California from August 10 to August 29, 2017.
The CDC has identified six more ill people (in addition to the 14) with the same DNA fingerprint of Salmonella Anatum who got sick more recently. The agency is investigating to determine if these more recent illnesses are also linked to Maradol papayas imported by Bravo Produce, Inc.
Outbreak of Salmonella Thompson, Kiambu, Agona, and Gaminara
This was the second outbreak, and it included four different types of Salmonella: Thompson, Kiambu, Agona, and Gaminara. The same strains of these types of Salmonella were found in samples collected from papayas and from ill people, according to the CDC.
With this outbreak, onset of illness ranged from May 17, 2017 to August 27, 2017, over three months. The ages of people sickened ranged from less than one year to 95.
At least 210 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Thompson (135), Salmonella Kiambu (59), Salmonella Agona (10), or Salmonella Gaminara (6) were reported from 24 states:
California (1), Connecticut (6), Delaware (4), Florida (2), Iowa (2), Illinois (5), Kentucky (4), Louisiana (1), Maryland (9), Massachusetts (9), Michigan (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (1), North Carolina (6), New Jersey (40), New York (65), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (9), Pennsylvania (8), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (2), Texas (10), Virginia (17), and Wisconsin (1).
Of these, sixty-seven were hospitalized. One person from New York City died.
“Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico are the likely source of this multistate outbreak,” according to the CDC.
Salmonella Newport and Infantis Outbreak
This is the third outbreak. Four people from 4 states who ate papayas contracted Salmonella Newport (3) and Infantis (1) infections:
- Illinois (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- New York (1).
Illness onset dates ranged from July 19, 2017 to August 7, 2017. People sickened were from 40 to 82 years of age. Two of the four were hospitalized.
FDA identified Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Infantis on papayas from Caraveo Produce in Tecomán, Mexico that were grown by Rancho El Ganadero. PFGE and WGS results showed the Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Infantis isolates from papayas shared the same DNA fingerprint as the Salmonella isolates from ill people.
Salmonella Urbana Outbreak
This is the fourth outbreak, onset of illness dates ranging from July 23, 2017 to August 14, 2017. Seven people sickened with the same strain of Salmonella Urbana were sickened. The states and number of cases were as follows:
- New Jersey (5)
- New York (1)
- Pennsylvania (1).
The age of the people sickened was from less than 1 year to 57, with a median age of 1. Four of the seven people sickened were hospitalized.
FDA identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Urbana on papayas from El Zapotanito in La Huerta, Mexico. This is evidence that can be used in a lawsuit to prove that people in this outbreak got sick from eating contaminated Maradol papayas.