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Outbreak Investigation of Salmonella Uganda Likely Linked to Whole, Fresh Papayas, June 2019

Agroson’s LLC refuses to voluntarily recall; FDA urges avoidance of Cavi Brand papayas

Outbreak Investigation of Salmonella Uganda Likely Linked to Whole, Fresh Papayas, June 2019

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July 19, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Uganda illnesses likely linked to Cavi Brand whole, fresh papayas.

The FDA has asked Agroson’s LLC, the exclusive distributor of this brand, to conduct a voluntary recall of Cavi brand papayas. Agroson's LLC refused to initiate a recall. FDA contacted wholesale customers of Agroson’s LLC to ensure the fruit was no longer available for sale, has been discarded, or not further processed or frozen.  FDA is doing this to protect consumers as it pursues additional protective and regulatory actions.

Recommendations

Cavi papayas

For Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers:

Consumers in all states should not eat any Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas and should throw them away. If consumers are unable to determine the brand of papayas, the product should be thrown away. Retailers, restaurants, and other food service providers in all states should not serve or sell whole, fresh papayas under the Cavi brand, which are distributed by Agroson’s LLC.

Consumers no longer need to avoid whole, fresh papayas, with the exception of Cavi brand papayas.

For Restaurants, Retailers, Importers, Suppliers, and Distributors in All States:

The FDA strongly advises importers, suppliers, and distributors, as well as restaurants, retailers, and other food service providers from all states to not sell or distribute whole, fresh papayas from Agroson’s LLC that are labeled under the Cavi brand.

Based on this new information, the hold FDA advised on June 28, 2019 for all imported Mexican papayas is no longer necessary.

Distributors don’t need to withhold Mexican papayas from distribution, with the exception of the Cavi brand.

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 71
Hospitalizations: 27
Deaths: 0
Last illness onset: June 16, 2019
States with Cases: CT (14), FL (1), MA (5), NJ (18), NY (27), PA (4), RI (1), TX (1)

What Products are Recalled?

The FDA has asked the firm to recall its Cavi brand papayas. Should that happen, the FDA will update the advisory, including any recalled products, as more information becomes available.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella are a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis. Most people infected with Salmonella will begin to develop symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness, salmonellosis, usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.

Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases may become fatal.

Children younger than five, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe salmonellosis infections.

General Food Safety Tips for Restaurants and Retailers

In the event that restaurants, retailers and/or other food service operators are found to have handled potentially contaminated food in their facilities, they should:

  • Contact their local health department and communicate to their customers regarding possible exposure to a pathogen.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination. 

Consumers can also submit a voluntarily report, a complaint, or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction) related to a food product.

General Food Safety Tips for Consumers

  • People should consult their healthcare provider if they suspect that they have developed symptoms that resemble a Salmonella infection.
  • Consumers should follow these steps for preventing foodborne illness:
    • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
    • Wash and sanitize surfaces used to serve or store potentially contaminated products.
    • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
    • People with pets should take special care to avoid cross-contamination when preparing their pet's food. Be sure to pick up and thoroughly wash food dishes as soon as pets are done eating, and prevent children, the elderly, and any other people with weak immune systems from handling or being exposed to the food or pets that have eaten potentially contaminated food.
  • Consumers can also submit a voluntarily report, a complaint, or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction) related to a food product.

Previous Updates

July 5, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Uganda illnesses likely linked to whole, fresh papayas. 

The epidemiological and traceback information collected thus far in the investigation indicates that Agroson’s LLC of Bronx, New York, is the exclusive distributor of the imported papayas that likely made consumers from this outbreak sick. The papayas are sold under the brand name Cavi. To date, there have been no positive product samples.

Of the 71 illnesses, 69 have been reported in six states in the Northeast. One patient from Florida who was reported ill had traveled to Connecticut before becoming ill. Another patient from Texas who was also reported ill had traveled to New York before becoming ill.

The FDA has consulted with the firm on the possibility of a recall. Should that happen, the FDA will update this advisory, including any recalled products, as more information becomes available.

The evidence does not indicate that papayas from other distributors are implicated at this time, and FDA is narrowing its recommendations to consumers, restaurants, retailers, importers, suppliers and distributors, limited to Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas. The FDA will continue its investigation to try to determine the root cause of the contamination of the implicated brand.

June 28, 2019

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of 62 Salmonella Uganda illnesses potentially linked to whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico.  These illnesses have been reported in eight states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas.
  • The FDA is increasing import screening for whole, fresh papayas and will continue to investigate the cause and source of the outbreak as well as the distribution of products. Preliminary analysis of product import records indicates that the whole, fresh papayas that made people sick in this outbreak were from Mexico. As this outbreak investigation continues, the FDA will work with our Mexican food safety regulatory counterparts to better define this outbreak. Additionally, the FDA will update this advisory as more information becomes available.

Who to Contact

Consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can

Visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional consumer and industry assistance.

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Additional Information