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Mexican Papayas Blamed for Salmonella Outbreak

by Dan Flynn

Food Safety News

Jul 25, 2011

The world's leading Maradol papaya grower acknowledged over the weekend that it is facing its most serious food-safety challenge since a pesticide chemical prevented its product from getting into the United States five years ago.

Agromod Products Inc., the U.S. marketer for the Tapachula, Mexico-based papaya grower, recalled all of its Blondie, Yaya, Mañanita and Tastylicious brand papayas sold prior to July 23, 2011 because they've been associated with a current outbreak of Salmonella.

The McAllen, TX-based U.S. marketer said its papayas may be linked to 97 reported cases of Salmonella Agona, including 10 hospitalizations, in 23 U.S. states.

Recent sampling by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the outbreak strain in two papaya samples collected at the Agromod Produce Inc. plant in McAllen, TX and from produce destined for Agromod Produce Inc. at the U.S. border.

Distribution of the Mexican papayas has been suspended while FDA and the company continue their investigation into the source of the problem.

It is not the first time that the U.S. border has been closed to Agromod papayas. In March 2006, multiple shipments of fresh papayas being imported to the U.S. by Agromod were refused entry because they contained an unsafe pesticide chemical.

That problem occurred within a year after the Texas-based Agromod Produce Inc. was set up to serve Agromod's customers in the U.S. and Canada. The company has a 12,500 square foot warehouse and cold storage capacity for up to 8 truckloads in McAllen for ripening and repacking areas.


Each Blondie Brand papaya can be identified by a blue and orange sticker label with green and white lettering on the fruit that states Blondie 4395 Mexico.

The Yaya Brand Papayas can be identified by a yellow, red, orange, and green label with white, green and red lettering that reads Yaya Premium Papayas Yaya PLU-4395 Mexico.

Each Mañanita Brand Papaya can be identified by a green, yellow and red sticker label that states Mexico Mañanita 4395.

The Tastylicious Brand Papayas can be identified by a white and blue sticker with red and white lettering that states 4395 Tastylicious MEXICO.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Salmonella symptoms include fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The fresh, whole papayas were distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada through retail stores and wholesalers.

Consumers who have purchased the Blondie, Yaya, Mañanita, and Tastylicious brand papayas are urged to return thm to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 800-385-7658, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST.

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