JoNel Aleccia of NBC News wrote “Mangoes placed on import alert; 121 sick in U.S.,” after speaking with the daughter of my client Dorothy Pearce.
As we all know now, mangoes from a Mexican supplier with several plantations and a single packinghouse have been tied to an outbreak of Salmonella Braendreup infections that has sickened 121 people in 15 U.S. states and sent 25 to the hospital. It also sickened 21 in Canada. One of those victims is 92-year-old Dorothy Pearce of Stanwood, Washington who was hospitalized for 10 days after eating mango, a favorite fruit since childhood, her daughter said:
“She’s been really, really sick,” said Trisha Pearce, 59, the daughter of Dorothy who is suing Splendid Products of Burlingame, Calif., the distributor that recalled mangoes sold nationwide on August 29. “My mother doesn’t cry or complain and she was crying.” “She’ll never eat another mango again.”
And, it is not like Mangoes have not had problems in the past.
Brazilian Mangoes 1999 – 78 Sickened
A nationwide outbreak of a single strain of Salmonella Newport was associated with the consumption of imported mangoes. The implicated mangoes were traced back to a single Brazilian farm. Salmonella and E. coli were isolated from water and other environmental samples of the farm. Water treatment was identified as a possible source of contamination. The mangoes destined for the US market were dipped in hot water, then cool water, a procedure that may have caused Salmonella on the surface of the fruit to be drawn inside. The hot dip water was not chlorinated. The cool dip water was chlorinated once a week; chlorine levels were not monitored. The mangoes were coated in wax mixed with chlorinated water. The farm also shipped mangoes to Europe. These mangoes did not receive the same hot/cold water bath treatment; the mangoes did not lead to illness in Europe.
Mangoes 2001 – 26 Sickened
A multistate outbreak of Salmonella was associated with the consumption of fresh mangoes. The Salmonella Saintpaul were genetically the same. In processing the mangoes for the US market, the mangoes were given a water treatment that was not likely to be chlorinated adequately. Some of the mangoes originated in Peru. A Salmonella outbreak in 1999 related to mangoes resulted in the USDA recommending chlorination for water treatment of mangoes. Unfortunately these recommendations were not published until 2002 after this outbreak had occurred.
“She’ll never eat another mango again.” Not a good marketing message.