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Foodborne Illness Outbreak May Be Related to Recalled Papayas

Posted on July 29, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Sunday, July 23, notified the public of a massive recall of papayas from Agromod Produce, Inc. of McAllen, Texas, because of a link to the bacterial contamination Salmonella, which can cause fatal infections in people with an underdeveloped or compromised immune system.

Symptoms of Salmonella sickness are fever, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain. In rare instances the bacteria can enter the bloodstream causing more severe illness. The FDA tested samples at Agromod Produce in Texas and found the positive confirmation along with a second positive test at the border. The FDA says the shipments that tested positive were not distributed in the U.S. The whole fresh papayas, grown in Mexico, were distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada and sold in retail stores prior to July 23, Sunday. Consumers should look for a Blondie Brand, Tastylicious Brand, Mananita, and Yaya Premium papaya with yellow, blue, orange and green stickers.

While none of the papayas that tested positive were distributed in the U.S., earlier this week, there were 97 reported cases of Salmonella Agona, including eight in Georgia, which resulted in 10 hospitalizations in 23 states related to the consumption of papayas. Consumers with any papayas that have the Agromod Produce sticker on them should discard the fruit. Papayas are also used in fruit salsas and fruit drinks, so consumers should be aware of these uses of the fruit as well. If you feel you may have consumed contaminated papayas, consult with a healthcare professional. Consumers who have any questions should call Agromod Produce at (800) 385-7658 or call the FDA website concerning food safety at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.

Approximately 76 million Americans are sickened from contaminated food every year. The FDA only inspects a small percentage of food for safety so the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4th. It gives federal regulators more muscle when it comes to demanding a food recall, instead of just requesting the producer recall tainted food. This should shift some of the focus from responding to food safety violations to preventing it in the first place. If you have suffered due to food that is contaminated or has been recalled, consulting with a Jacksonville food recall attorney can help you understand what legal options are available to you.

Sources: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/foodborne-outbreak-potentially-associated-with-papaya-distributed-by-agromod-produce-inc-126114438.html, http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm265166.htm, http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm264854.htm and http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/fsma/default.htm