Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Papaya

Papayas Imported by Agromod Produce Company Have Been Recalled

By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

July 26, 2011 -- The FDA has warned Americans not to eat papayas imported by a Texas company from Mexico because they have been linked to a salmonella outbreak in at least 23 states that has sickened nearly 100 people.

The FDA says the papayas in question were imported by Agromod Produce Inc. in McAllen, Texas.

The FDA and the CDC have launched an investigation of 97 reported cases of Salmonella Agona that have apparently led to 10 hospitalizations.

Agromod Produce voluntarily recalled the papayas after the FDA detected salmonella matching the strain identified in the outbreak.

The FDA says consumers, retailers, and others who have bought papayas from Agromod should discard them in a sealed container so that people and animals, including wild animals, cannot eat them.

"The payayas were imported from Mexico and may be linked to the reported cases of Salmonella Agona," the FDA says in a statement.

It says the strain in question has been found in two papaya samples, one collected at Agromod's location in McAllen and the other at the U.S. border, destined for Agromod Produce. The FDA is working with Agromod to determine if previous shipments of the potentially contaminated papaya could still be within the reach of consumers or retailers.

Agromod distributes four brands of papayas, whole and unprocessed, called Yaya, Blondie, Mananita, and Tastylicious.

The FDA says consumers should check with retailers to see if any papayas they have purchased came from Agromod. It says anyone who has eaten possibly contaminated papayas and has become ill should consult their health care providers.

Salmonella Symptoms

Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, or abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts up to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.

Some people, however, may require hospitalization if the infection spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream and to other body sites, and it can cause death in vulnerable groups of people. The FDA says the elderly, infants, and people with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from salmonella infection than healthier people.

The FDA says 25 cases have been reported in Texas and 17 in Illinois. Seven illness have been reported in California, eight in Georgia, two in Louisiana, three in Minnesota, three in Missouri, two in Nebraska, three in New Mexico, six in New York, two in Virginia, five in Washington, and two in Wisconsin.

Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee all have one reported case.

Agromod Produce says in a news release on the FDA web site that is recalling all papayas sold before July 23, 2011.


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SOURCES: News release, FDA.News release, Agromod Produce. ©2011 WebMD, LLC. All Rights Reserved.