FDA Warns Consumers: Avoid Caribeña brand Maradol Papayas

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and other state agencies, has pointed the finger at Caribeña brand Maradol papayas from Mexico as a likely source of a Salmonella Kiambu outbreak that has already claimed one life.

The Caribeña brand papayas were distributed nationwide in the US by Grande Produce LLC, San Juan, Texas.

According to information released today on FDA’s website, Grande Produce has initiated a ‘limited recall’ of Caribeña brand Maradol papayas distributed nationwide from July 7 – July 18, 2017. In the absence of a public recall notice, FDA has issued its own consumer warning.

Aldi Inc. already has issued a press release recalling all Maradol papayas imported from Mexico, regardless of brand name. The company operates more than 1600 stores in 35 US states. Walmart also has alerted its customers to the risk, indicating the papayas were sold in some of its stores.

The Salmonella outbreak began in mid-May. As of July 21, 2017, CDC has received 47 confirmed reports of Salmonella Kiambu infections from twelve states, including: Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Maryland (5), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (12), New York (13), Pennsylvania (4), Texas (1), Utah (1), and Virginia (6). Twelve of the outbreak victims required hospitalization. The death was reported from the New York City area.

The MDH Laboratories Administration tested Maradol papayas obtained at a retail location in Baltimore, finding Salmonella in three out of five samples, including the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak strain as well as Salmonella Thompson.

Some illnesses have been reported in states where Grande Produce did not distribute the Caribeña papayas. FDA is continuing its investigation as it is possible the contamination may not be restricted to the Caribeña brand.

CDC offers the following advice to consumers, restaurants and retailers:

CDC recommends that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell Maradol papayas from Mexico until we learn more.

  • At this time, Caribeña brand papayas from Mexico have been identified as one brand linked to the outbreak. Additional brands will be announced as the information becomes available.
  • Maradol papayas have a green skin that turns yellow as the fruit ripens.
  • A sticker on the Maradol papaya should say if the papaya is Caribeña brand and if it is from Mexico.
  • If you aren’t sure if the papaya you bought is a Maradol papaya from Mexico, you can ask the place of purchase. Restaurants and retailers can ask their supplier.
  • When in doubt, don’t eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.
  • Wash and sanitize countertops as well as drawers or shelves in refrigerators where papayas were stored.