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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Salmonella Agona Papayas Sicken 106 in 25 States

Screen Shot 2011-08-30 at 6.46.29 AM.pngTHe CDC reports that a total of 106 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Agona were reported from 25 states between January 1 and August 25, 2011. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain was as follows: Arkansas (1), Arizona (4), California (8), Colorado (1), Georgia (8), Illinois (18), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (2), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (3), Missouri (3), Nebraska (2), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (3), New York (9), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee (1), Texas (25), Virginia (2), Washington (5), and Wisconsin (2). 

• Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory investigations linked this outbreak to eating fresh, whole papayas imported from Mexico by Agromod Produce, Inc. of McAllen, Texas.

• On July 23, 2011, Agromod Produce, Inc. voluntarily recalled fresh, whole papayas that were imported from Mexico and distributed nationwide and to Canada through retail stores and wholesalers. The recall includes all Blondie, Yaya, Mañanita, and Tastylicious Brand papayas sold prior to July 23, 2011.

• This particular outbreak appears to be over. However, Salmonella is still an important cause of human illness in the United States. More information about Salmonella, and steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection, can be found on the CDC Salmonella Web Page and the CDC Vital Signs Web Page.

• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its counterpart agencies in the Mexican government have been working closely together to find the source or sources of contamination of Salmonella in freshpapayas entering the United States from Mexico. From May 12, 2011, to August 18, 2011, FDA analysis found a 15.6% Salmonella contamination rate. The positive samples were from 28 different firms and include nearly all the major papaya producing regions in Mexico. Under an FDA Import Alert issued on August 25, 2011, papayas from each source in Mexico may be denied admission into the United States unless the importer shows they are not contaminated with Salmonella.

Goodness, if paypayas were cantaloupe and imported by Del Monte, would we see another lawsuit against the FDA and a few selected states?