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.