August 26, 2011

FDA Blocks Incoming Mexican Papayas Due To Salmonella


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned papaya´s from all of Mexico´s growing regions from entering the US due to an outbreak of salmonella.

According to MSNBC's JoNel Aleccia, an FDA investigation found more than 15 percent of fresh papayas entering the US from Mexico were contaminated with the bacteria.

The investigation occurred between May 12 and August 18 and was instigated because of an outbreak that sickened over 100 people in 23 states, sending at least 10 to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fresh papayas were imported by Agromod Produce, Inc, of McAllen, Texas.

FDA officials told MSNBC that the US and Mexico are working together to address the problem.

Enrique Sanchez Cruz, director in chief of SENASICA, the national public health body in Mexico told Reuters, “I am confident that this joint effort will reduce the risk of contamination of produce moving across our common border.”

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps after eating contaminated foods.

Reuters notes that it is the most common US food-borne illness and continues to strike the country as often as it did 15 years ago, linked to contaminated meats, produce and processed foods. In 2010 it caused nearly 2,300 hospitalizations and 29 deaths. One outbreak led to the recall of nearly half a billion eggs.

According to the FDA this is the newest import alert, but not the only one. Captain Domenic J. Veneziano, Director of FDA´s Division of Import Operations and Policy (DIOP), says there are currently 264 import alerts. They represent 3100 types of products from more than 11,000 manufacturers in 150 countries and regions. Products include seafood, fruits and vegetables, cheese, rice, cosmetics, drugs, and medical devices.


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