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Papaya Salmonella outbreak slams Hispanic population in U.S.

Four U.S. outbreaks traced to papayas from Mexico have sickened 235; more cases expected

The popularity of fresh papaya in some ethnic cuisine is resulting in a disproportionate number of Hispanics being infected in four ongoing Salmonella outbreaks.

With 235 laboratory confirmed infections as of this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the number of Hispanic victims in the individual outbreaks ranges from 50 percent to 91 percent. Two people have died, but their ethnicity has not been made public.

The CDC and Food and Drug Administration are tracking eight different varieties of Salmonella, all found in maradol papayas from Mexico and matched by laboratory testing to samples from the victims. As of Thursday the CDC split the victims into four outbreaks, based on four farms in Mexico that produced contaminated fruit.

Both FDA and CDC are warning against maradol papayas from the four farms in Mexico. The FDA is continuing its stepped up testing of papayas from Mexico, which it began after the initial outbreak was confirmed by the Maryland Department of Health in mid-July.

“CDC recommends that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell recalled Maradol papayas from Carica de Campeche, Rancho El Ganadero, El Zapotanito, or Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya de Tecomán y Costa Alegre farms in Mexico,” according to Thursday’s update.

“Several companies have recalled papayas from these farms: Grande Produce recalled Caribena brand maradol papayas. Agroson’s LLC recalled certain Cavi brand maradol papayas. Freshtex Produce LLC recalled Valery Brand maradol papayas. Bravo Produce Inc. recalled maradol papayas packed by Frutas Selectas de Tijuana, S. de RL de CV.”

Federal officials suggest that people who aren’t sure if papayas they have purchased are among those recalled should ask the retailers that sold the fruit. When in doubt, throw it out, the CDC recommends.

Specific details on the four ongoing Salmonella outbreaks traced to whole, fresh papayas from Mexico are available at the following links:

  • Outbreak of Salmonella Thompson, Salmonella Kiambu, Salmonella Agona, and Salmonella Gaminara infections linked to papayas from Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico;
  • Outbreak of Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Infantis Infections linked to papayas from Rancho El Ganadero farm in Colima, Mexico distributed by Caraveo Produce;
  • Outbreak of Salmonella Urbana Infections linked to papayas from El Zapotanito farm in La Huerta, Mexico; and
  • Outbreak of Salmonella Anatum Infections linked to papayas from Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya de Tecoman y Costa Alegre in Tijuana, Mexico imported by Bravo Produce Inc.

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