As of August 11, 2017, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that 141 people in nineteen states have confirmed cases of strains of salmonella traced back to papayas imported from Mexico. Victims range in age from 1 to 95 with a median age of 39. So far, 45 people have been hospitalized (32 percent) and one victim from New York, has died, the Daily Hornet reports.
Based on the information gathered to date, the CDC is advising consumers not to eat Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm. If there is a question concerning the origins of the papaya, the agency is recommending to consumers and restaurants, when in doubt, throw it out.
The Caribena papayas were recalled on July 26, and could be identified by a red, green, and yellow sticker. The Cavi papayas were recalled on August 5, and could be identified by a purple, green, and black sticker with the words “Cavi MEXICO 4395 in white.
The states with confirmed cases of the salmonella outbreak are Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled Valery® Maradol papayas after previously recalling Caribena® and Cavi® brands of Maradol papayas all from the same farm in Mexico. The Valery papayas were distributed by Freshtex Produce LLC, according to the FDA. Confirmed illnesses began May 17, reports Food Safety News. The Valery brand papayas were recalled on August 7 and can be identified by a red, yellow, and green sticker with “Valery” in yellow letters
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Increase of Imported Foods in the U.S.
Imported foods are making up a larger part of the average American’s diet with nearly $50 billion in food imported in 2014. However, this practice comes at a price, with recent widespread foodborne illnesses being traced back to strawberries, scallops, and other whole foods that are imported to this country.
A bi-partisan piece of legislation, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was designed to increase scrutiny of imported foods, however, Congress has not adequately financed this part of the program. President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018, cuts $83 million from the FDA’s food safety programs, making the threat of illnesses caused by pathogens such as E.coli, salmonella, and listeria potentially greater.
Since 2011, Mexican papayas have routinely been screened for salmonella as part of the importing process, says the FDA. Maradol papayas are large, oval fruit that weigh three pounds or more. They have green skin that becomes yellow when ripe. The fruit is salmon-colored inside. Areas where Maradol papayas have been stored should be carefully sanitized.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes an infection called salmonellosis. Salmonella can live in a variety of conditions, including in water, soil, raw meats, raw poultry, eggs, animal feces, insects, and raw seafood. Most people infected with salmonella develop symptoms within 12 to 72 hours of infection, and the illness usually lasts from four to seven days, reports CNN. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. In some rare cases, salmonella spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract and may cause a deadly illness.
Most people recover without any medical treatment, but in some cases, particularly in people with weak immune systems, the bacterial infection can make its way into the bloodstream. This can trigger more serious illnesses that may be deadly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In these rare occurrences, the more severe illnesses may include arterial infections, such as infected aneurysms, endocarditis, and arthritis, the Daily Hornet reports.
Additional papaya brands may be recalled, according to federal officials. The regulators continue efforts to determine what other distributors or importers may have brought papayas from the implicated farm. The overall size of the ongoing outbreaks of infections from Salmonella Kiambu and Salmonella Thompson bacteria have tripled since the CDC’s first announcement. Public health officials anticipate the number of victims to continue to increase, according to Food Safety News.
Legal Information and Advice Involving Food Recalls
If you or someone you know suffered illness connected to a food recall, you may be eligible for compensation. Parker Waichman LLP personal injury lawyers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).