FDA investigates Salmonella outbreak linked to Papayas from Mexico

USA – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in collaboration other partners are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Uganda and have potentially linked the outbreak to whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico.

FDA, which is working with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local partners said the illnesses have also been reported in eight states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas.

Sixty-two people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Uganda have been reported from 8 states since early this year with most illnesses having occurred since April 2019.

As part of its intervention to contain the outbreak, the FDA said that it is increasing import screening for whole, fresh papayas as it continues to investigate the cause and source of the outbreak as well as the distribution of products.

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“Preliminary analysis of product import records indicates that the whole, fresh papayas that made people sick in this outbreak were from Mexico.

“As this outbreak investigation continues, the FDA will work with our Mexican food safety regulatory counterparts to better define this outbreak,” the FDA said adding that it will update this advisory as more information becomes available.

CDC has hence advised consumers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island states to not consume any whole, fresh papayas from Mexico and discard the fruit.

“The FDA strongly advises importers, suppliers, and distributors, as well as restaurants, retailers, and other food service providers from all states to hold whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico.

“This hold is intended to prevent or limit further distribution of potentially contaminated papayas that may already be in the supply chain until more information on the potential source of papayas linked to the outbreak becomes available,” FDA said in a statement.

The illness whose symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the Salmonella bacteria, usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

Epidemiologic evidence and early product distribution information indicate that of the 62 illnesses, 60 have been reported in six states in the Northeast while the traceback investigation is still ongoing.

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