For many of us, summertime means eating lots of delicious tropical fruit. But papaya fans will want to be careful where they obtain theirs as there's currently a salmonella risk associated with the fruit. As of the beginning of July, more than 60 people in eight states have been sicked by fresh papayas from Mexico.
A statement issued by the Food and Drug Administration and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave consumers in six states a warning and further details on the outbreak. The agencies recommended that distributors, retailers, and restaurants from all states "hold whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico. This hold is intended to prevent or limit further distribution of potentially contaminated papayas that may already be in the supply chain until more information on the potential source of papayas linked to the outbreak becomes available."
Twenty-three of those afflicted were hospitalized and no deaths were reported. This is higher than average, according to the CDC. "The hospitalization rate in this outbreak is 66% among people with information available. The hospitalization rate in Salmonella outbreaks is usually around 20%," the CDC said.
Consumers from the affected states, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, are advised not to eat whole, fresh papayas or salads containing papayas that were imported from Mexico. Two other states, Florida and Texas, each reported one case of salmonella tied to the papayas but these states were not included in the FDA/CDC warning.
Salmonella symptoms usually develop about 12 to 72 hours after the consumption of contaminated foods and include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.