First cantaloupe, now papayas.
The CDC has opened up a homepage on Salmonella infections associated with eating Yellow Maradol Papayas.
Here’s the count so far:
- 47 Cases
- 12 States
- 12 Hospitalizations
- 1 Deaths
Food Safety News has the story. And provides the label you had best avoid.
As usual, by the time the CDC finds out about outbreaks, cases have slowed down (it takes time to find them).
This one is affecting people in states all over the country.
Papayas grow on trees. Salmonella are animal bacteria. Monkeys? Arboreal sloths?
A more likely explanation is that the fruit came in contact with human waste or dirty hands sometime during collection, transport, or processing.
What to do?
Bacteria are on the rind. They get on the fruit itself when you cut through it. You can try scrubbing the outside before you peel the papaya. The CDC recommends discarding it and cleaning your kitchen carefully.
Better preventive controls? They are on the books (the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act).
Enforcement? Not unless Congress appropriates the funds.
Why won’t it? FDA appropriations go through agricultural appropriations, not health. Do ag committees care about food safety?
Addition: Food Safety News reports that the distributor of the papayas has started recalling them, but not publicly.