Papayas from Mexico blamed for another Salmonella outbreak

For the sixth time in eight years, papayas grown in Mexico have been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning consumers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island to avoid eating any fresh papayas from Mexico until further notice.

No recall has been announced.

CDC reports 62 cases of Salmonella Uganda illnesses, including 23 hospitalizations, in eight states: Connecticut (14), Florida (1), Massachusetts (5), New Jersey (12), New York (24), Pennsylvania (4), Rhode Island (1), and Texas (1).

No deaths have been reported.

According to FDA, most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases may become fatal.

Children younger than five, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe salmonellosis infections.

By the numbers

Epidemiological evidence gathered by CDC, and product distribution information obtained by FDA, point to papayas grown in Mexico and distributed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Just over one-half of the victims are female, and approximately two-thirds of those interviewed are of Hispanic ethnicity. Ages of outbreak victims range from one to 86 years.

Of those victims who were interviewed, 76% reported having eaten papaya in the week before becoming ill.

The Florida victim reported having traveled to Connecticut in the week before becoming ill. It is unknown at this time whether the Texas victim had traveled to one of the six states to which the papayas were shipped.

FDA has not yet identified a source or grower of the contaminated papayas.


This is the sixth in a series of Salmonella outbreaks linked to papayas grown in Mexico and imported into the USA in the last eight years.

In 2011, Mexican papayas contaminated with Salmonella Agona were the source of a 25-state outbreak that sickened 106 individuals, sending 10 of them to hospital.

In 2017, history repeated itself four-fold. A total of 251 individuals were infected with one of several different strains of Salmonella after eating Mexico-grown papayas. Seventy-eight of the outbreak victims were hospitalized and two people died.

If history is any guide, it is likely that the number of cases and hospitalizations in this outbreak will increase.

What should consumers do?

  • If you have purchased a papaya grown in Mexico, throw it away.
  • Do not eat fruit salads or other mixes that include papayas from Mexico.
  • If you aren’t sure the papaya you bought is from Mexico, you can ask the place of purchase. When in doubt, don’t eat the papaya. Throw it out.
  • Wash and sanitize places where papayas were stored: countertops and refrigerator drawers or shelves. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.

What should restaurants and retailers do?

In the event that restaurants, retailers and/or other food service operators are found to have handled potentially contaminated food in their facilities, they should:

  • Contact their local health department and communicate to their customers regarding possible exposure to a pathogen.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.



Recalls and Alerts: January 25, 2013

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

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United States

  • Allergy Alert Update: USDA releases retail distribution list for Applegate® Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets (8-oz cartons), recalled by King’s Delight due to undeclared wheat.
  • Food Safety Recall/Outbreak Alert: Stallings Head Cheese Co., Inc. recalls Richard’s Hog Head Cheese (10-oz pkg; Est #2257; Use by 2 1 2013 or 3 20 2013; Produced November 1, 2012 and December 19, 2012 respectively), after hog head cheese from this establishment were linked to a recent cluster of six Salmonella Uganda illnesses in Louisiana. Illness onset dates ranged from october 16, 2012 to November 10, 2012; four patients confirmed having eaten this brand of head cheese. Four of nine retail samples from different production dates have tested positive for Salmonella; however, tests to determine whether the outbreak strain of Salmonella Uganda was recovered from the retail samples are not yet complete. The recalled products were shipped to a distribution center for retail distribution in Louisiana and Southeastern Texas, and were sold at Brookshire’s food and pharmacy and Super1Foods & Discount Pharmacy . USDA has not yet released a retail distribution list for this recall.
  • Food Safety Recall/Outbreak Alert: Jouni Meats, Inc. (Sterling Heights, MI) recalls various size packages of ground beef (Produced between Dec 4, 2012 and Dec 9, 2012), after consumption of ground beef from Joumi Meats and Gab Halal Foods was linked to an outbreak of  16 Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses in Arizona (1), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Michigan (9) and Wisconsin (3). Illness onset dates ranged from December 9, 2012 to January 7, 2013. Seven of the outbreak victims reported having eaten a raw ground beef dish at the same restaurant before becoming ill. The restaurant had acquired the raw beef from Joumi Meats and Gab Halal Foods.
  • Food Safety Recall/Outbreak Alert: Gab Halal Foods (Troy, MI) recalls various size packages of ground beef (Produced between Dec 4, 2012 and Dec 9, 2012), after consumption of ground beef from Joumi Meats and Gab Halal Foods was linked to an outbreak of  16 Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses in Arizona (1), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Michigan (9) and Wisconsin (3). Illness onset dates ranged from December 9, 2012 to January 7, 2013. Seven of the outbreak victims reported having eaten a raw ground beef dish at the same restaurant before becoming ill. The restaurant had acquired the raw beef from Joumi Meats and Gab Halal Foods.
  • Food Safety Recall Update: The California Department of Public Health releases a state-wide list of retailers that were supplied with Hunt’s Tomato Sauce (Regular and No Salt Added), recalled by ConAgra Foods due to a defective inner can lining.
  • Personal Care Product Recall: The Procter & Gamble Company recalls Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh Rinse (946 ml; Lot 22155395RF; UPC 37000-84023), due to a cloudy appearance, according to information posted by Haggen Northwest Fresh and TOP Food and Drug.
  • Food Safety Enforcement Action: FDA and Jonlly Fruits, Inc. (Puerto Rico) enter into consent decree of permanent injunction prohibiting distribution of fruit and juice products sold under Jonlly’s own label, as well as “Natural Tropic,” “Selectos,” and several other private-label brands. Under the decree, Jonlly agrees to cease all operations until they comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, including Current Good Manufacturing Practices and the juice HACCP regulations.
  • Pet Treat Safety Withdrawal: The Hartz Mountain Corporation withdraws Hartz® Chicken Chews™ and Hartz® Oinkies® Pig Skin Twists wrapped with Chicken, because the dog treats contain trace amounts of an unapproved antibiotic residue.


  • Allergy Alert: King’s Processing Ltd. recalls a variety of Subs, Wraps and Sandwiches sold under the Savoury Express and Sub Delicious brands, in addition to an unbranded 5-pack Value Sub (various package sizes and Best before dates), due to undeclared mustard. Please refer to the recall notice for a detailed list of affected products. The recalled products were supplied to retailers in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.


  • Allergy Alert (Ireland): The Health Store recalls various products sold from The Health Store shops and other health food stores, due to undeclared milk and/or sulphites. Please refer to the Food Allergen Alert for a complete list of affected products and Best before dates.
  • Food Safety Recall (Germany): Hainich Konserven GmbH recalls Hainich Cherry Preserves (370 mL; Best before 17.07.2015), after receiving a consumer complaint regarding glass fragments.
  • Food Safety Recall (Switzerland): Migros Zurich recalls Gorgonzola Cremoso oro (approx. 250g; Article No. 2125.838.220.00), Gorgonzola Cremoso oro (approx. 250g; Article No. 2125.848.260.00), Gorgonzola Mascarpone Cremoso oro (approx. 250g; Article No. 2125.820.000.00) Gorgonzola Dolce, sold at cheese stalls (Article No. 2125.840.065.00) Gorgonzola Piccante, sold at cheese stalls (Article No. 2125.839.065), and Gorgonzola Mascarpone, sold at cheese stalls (Article No. 2125.818.025), after Listeria was found in two types of gorgonzola. The recalled cheeses were sold at Migros Zurich: Zurich canton, Glaris canton, and several points of sale in Saint-Gall canton.
  • Contact Lens Safety Recall (Spain): Johnson & Johnson Medical Iberia recalls 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® contact lenses (Lot 2054895620) and ACUVUE® ADVANCE® WITH HYDRACLEAR contact lenses (Lot B00DJPQ), due to the possibility of an incomplete seal, which could compromise the sterility of the contact lenses.

Australia and New Zealand

  • Outbreak Alert Update (Australia): Three additional cases of listeriosis have been reported in New South Wales among people who consumed soft cheeses recalled by Jindi Cheese Company. The new cases bring the total number of cases to 21, nationwide. A woman in New South Wales miscarried after contracting listeriosis, and two deaths have been reported in other states among those affected by the outbreak.

Some supermarket chains post recall notices on their web sites for the convenience of customers. To see whether a recalled food was carried by your favorite supermarket, follow the live link to the supermarket’s recall website.

*The Kroger umbrella encompasses numerous supermarket, marketplace and convenience store chains, listed on the Kroger corporate home page.
**Includes Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs and Pak N’ Save.