FDA commissioners are calling on the papaya industry to address its Salmonella problem. For the eighth time in eight years, the U.S. is grappling with a Salmonella outbreak linked to papayas imported from Mexico. In total, these outbreaks are responsible for more than 500 illnesses, 100 hospitalizations and two deaths.
Those numbers are more than enough evidence to show that the industry needs a top-to-bottom overhaul of its food safety measures, according to two top officials from the U.S. Food and Administration (FDA). In a statement released August 26, 2019, Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless M.D., the FDA’s acting commissioner of food and drugs and Frank Yiannas, the agency’s deputy commissioner of food policy and response, said “all sectors of the papaya industry to protect its customers and to meet its legal obligations.”
If a farm-to-fork analysis shows the likely point of contamination is the growing environment, the use of water for irrigation and after-harvest rinsing should be examined, they said. In addition, the industry should improve traceability and conduct food safety research.
Salmonella is a bacteria transmitted via the fecal-oral route, meaning illness occurs when food contaminated with fecal matter containing the bacteria is ingested. This can occur in the growing fields or at any point in the production chain if food is handled by an infected worker who di not wash their hands properly after using the bathroom.
Symptoms of an infection include diarrhea and abdominal cramping which usually appear between six and 72 hours of exposure.
Ongoing Papaya Salmonella Outbreak
An ongoing papaya Salmonella outbreak has sickened 71 people in eight states, hospitalizing 27 of them. The most recent data on the outbreak from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is from July. It shows the following state totals for illnesses reported from January 14, 2019, to June 16, 2019: CT (14), FL (1), MA (5), NJ (18), NY (27), PA (4), RI (1), TX (1).
The Cavi brand papayas were distributed in the U.S. by Agroson’s LLC which refused to honor the FDA’s request that for a recall for the contaminated fruit.
The Salmonella lawyers at Pritzker Hageman have represented clients in every major outbreak for the last 20 years. If you are part of this outbreak, we want to help. For a free consultation, call 1 (888) 377-8900 (toll-free), send a text to 612-261-0856 or complete the form below and put our winning Salmonella Team to work for you.