Cavi brand whole papayas fingered in Salmonella outbreak

Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico and distributed by Agroson’s LLC of Bronx, New York are the likely source of an outbreak of Salmonella Uganda that has sickened 71 people in eight states.

This information was contained in an investigation update released today (July 5) by FDA.

The Mexican government, which described FDA’s initial report as “premature” on July 1st has not yet responded to this update.

Agroson’s is an importer and distributor of papayas. The company was one of the distributors involved in the 2017 Salmonella outbreaks linked to contaminated papayas from Mexico.

Epidemiological and traceback evidence indicates that the Agroson’s was the exclusive distributor of the implicated papayas.

FDA has asked Agroson’s to initiate a product recall. The company has not yet complied.

Illnesses associated with this outbreak have been reported in eight states: Connecticut (14), Florida (1), Massachusetts (5), New Jersey (18), New York (27), Pennsylvania (4), Rhode Island (1), and Texas (1).

Twenty-seven people have been hospitalized. There have been no deaths.

The hospitalization rate is higher than usual in a Salmonella outbreak, according to CDC.

Among those victims for whom information is available, the rate is 60%. The usual hospitalization rate in Salmonella outbreaks is approximately 20%.

The Cavi papayas were distributed in six states, all of which have reported outbreak cases. There was no distribution in Florida or Texas.

The Florida victim reported traveling to Connecticut before becoming ill. The Texas victim reported having traveled to New York.

FDA, which is continuing its investigations, offers the following recommendations:

For Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers:

Consumers in all states should not eat any Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas and should throw them away. If consumers are unable to determine the brand of papayas, they should be thrown away. Retailers, restaurants, and other food service providers in all states should not serve or sell whole, fresh papayas under the Cavi brand, which is distributed by Agroson’s LLC.

Consumers no longer need to avoid whole, fresh papayas, with the exception of Cavi brand papayas.

For Restaurants, Retailers, Importers, Suppliers, and Distributors in All States:

The FDA strongly advises importers, suppliers, and distributors, as well as restaurants, retailers, and other food service providers from all states to not sell or distribute whole, fresh papayas from Agroson’s LLC that are labeled under the Cavi brand.

 

 

Second Papaya Recall issued as Salmonella Outbreak Grows

One person dead, 35 hospitalized, 109 ill.

A second recall has been issued for Maradol papayas from Mexico as a result of the ongoing investigation into a Salmonella outbreak that has grown to 109 confirmed illnesses.

Agroson’s LLC (Bronx, NY) has recalled 2,483 boxes of Cavi brand Maradol Papayas, grown and packed by Carica de Campeche. The recalled papayas were supplied to wholesalers in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey from July 16 to 19, 2017.

The papayas were available for sale until July 31, 2017. Consumers can identify the papayas by PLU sticker, cavi MEXICO 4395.

According to the recall notice, Agroson’s has ceased importing papayas from Carica de Campeche.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier today that the Salmonella outbreak linked to consumption of Maradol papayas imported from Mexico has more than doubled in size, and has spread to six additional states.

Most of the increase is due to the addition of cases from a second outbreak strain.

In addition to Salmonella Kiambu, CDC has confirmed a strain of Salmonella Thompson  from a sample of papaya is genetically similar to Salmonella Thompson cultures recovered from patients. In all, Salmonella Kiambu has been found in 48 outbreak cases, and Salmonella Thompson in 61.

Confirmed outbreak cases have been reported from 16 states, including: Connecticut (4), Delaware (1), Iowa (2), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (1), Maryland (6), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (1), Minnesota (4), North Carolina (2), New Jersey (26), New York (36), Oklahoma (2), Pennsylvania (7), Virginia (11) and Wisconsin (1).

Texas, which was indicated to have reported a single outbreak cases in CDC’s initial announcement, has been removed from the list of affected states.

The first victim fell ill May 17th; the most illness developed on July 22nd. The youngest outbreak victim was less than one year old; the oldest was 95. Approximately two-thirds of the victims were female, and 68% were of Hispanic ethnicity.

The death was reported from New York City.

Initial investigtions identified Caribeña brand Maradol papayas as a source of the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak. On July 26th, Grande Produce (San Juan, Texas) issued a limited recall of papayas shipped to a Maryland distributor.

Traceback investigations carried out by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have identified the Carica de Campeche farm (Campeche, Mexico) as the likely source of the outbreak. According to FDA, papayas from Carica de Campeche tested positive for Salmonella Agona, Salmonella Senftenberg, and Salmonella Gaminara in addition to the outbreak strains of Salmonella Kiambu and Salmonella Thompson.

As a result of its findings, FDA has added Carica de Campeche to Import Alert 99-35 (Detention without physical examination of fresh produce that appears to have been prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions) and has removed the farm from the Green List of entities exempt from Import Alert 21-17 (Countrywide Detention Without Physical Examination of Papaya from Mexico).

Carica de Campeche was granted an exemption from this detention notice in 2015.

FDA has stepped up testing of papayas from other farms in Mexico to determine whether they may be contaminated. If Salmonella is found in papaya from a farm, that  entity will be added to the Import Alert 99-35 detention list.

 

What CDC wants consumers to know:

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.
    • Consumers should not eat, restaurants should not serve, and retailers should not sell recalled papayas.
    • 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.

Contact a healthcare provider if you think you got sick from eating contaminated papaya.

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop the following signs and symptoms 12-72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria:
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Abdominal cramps