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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

FDA to warn – Do Not Eat Mexican Papaya due to Salmonella Agona

PapayaRecall.jpgI should never sleep in. Sometime today the FDA will likely announce an Import Alert on Mexican Papaya due to Salmonella Agona. Here is what the FDA is saying thus far:

Mexico produces 11% of the world’s production of papayas. U.S. import data from January 1, 2011 shows that approximately 65% of all papayas imported into the U.S. are from Mexico (primarily from the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, Chiapas, and Veracruz), which makes Mexico the largest exporter of fresh papayas into the U.S. Evidence shows there is widespread contamination of Mexican papaya with Salmonella, a human pathogen. Based on this evidence, FDA has determined that papaya imported from Mexico appears to be adulterated within the meaning of section 402(a)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because the papayas appear to contain Salmonella, an added poisonous or deleterious substance that may render food injurious to health.

FDA has been collecting and analyzing samples of raw, fresh whole papaya imported from Mexico. From May 12, 2011, to August 18, 2011, FDA analysis found Salmonella in 33 samples out of a total of 211, or a 15.6% positive rate. The positive samples were from 28 different firms and include nearly all the major papaya producing regions in Mexico.

According to the FDA, a multi-state outbreak of human infections of salmonellosis occurred in 2011. More than 100 people were infected with the outbreak organism in multiple states. The CDC earlier reported a total of 99 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Agona have been reported from 23 states between January 1 and July 22, 2011. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain is as follows: Arkansas (1), Arizona (3), California (7), Colorado (1), Georgia (8), Illinois (17), Louisiana (2), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (3), Missouri (3), Nebraska (2), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (3), New York (7), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee (1), Texas (25), Virginia (2), Washington (5), and Wisconsin (2).

Screen Shot 2011-08-25 at 9.41.48 AM.pngPerhaps the CDC will update the numbers?  Also, think about this.  If this was ground turkey, beef, lamb or chicken (regulated by FSIS), it likely would do nothing about it – certainly not what the FDA is doing right now.