Papaya-Linked Salmonella Outbreak Expands

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 24-Jul-2017

Posted by Salvatore J, Zambri, founding member and partner.

Last week, we blogged about a local outbreak of Salmonella connected to Caribena brand yellow Maradol papayas sold in Maryland grocery stores. Since the initial local investigation began, in follow up to the Maryland Department of Health's warning regarding its investigation of a Salmonella investigation related to the Maradol papayas, the investigation has now expanded to include the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), multiple state health departments and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As of July 21, 2017, a total of 47 cases to include 12 hospitalizations from 12 states have now been officially reported and potentially linked to the Maradol papayas, along with one death. The illness cluster began in Maryland, prompting the initial investigations. All of the tested papayas originated from Mexico, although it is uncertain whether they all were distributed by the Caribena company.

“MDH informed the FDA, CDC and state partners that several ill people shopped at the same Baltimore retail location and purchased papayas,” according to the FDA warning.

“Records and samples of green and yellow papaya were collected. On July 17, Maryland reported that three of ten samples had preliminarily tested positive for Salmonella. All positive samples were Caribeña brand yellow Maradol papayas from Mexico; none of the green papayas were positive.

“However, as noted above, Maradol papayas are green before they ripen and turn yellow, so consumers should not eat Caribeña brand papayas regardless of the color.”

The current FDA Import Alert is detaining all Mexican papayas. "State and federal public health officials recommend applying the golden rule of food safety regarding papayas that consumers, foodservice operators and retailers may still have on hand: When in doubt, throw it out."

Salmonella guidelines from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) list the symptoms and recommendations for those exposed: "Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and fever. Symptoms usually occur between 12 and 36 hours after exposure, but they may begin as early as 6 hours or as late as 72 hours after exposure. Symptoms can be mild or severe and commonly last for two to seven days. Anyone suspecting they are ill with a Salmonella infection should contact their healthcare provider. Salmonella can infect anyone – but young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections."

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About the author:

Mr. Zambri is the author of a widely renowned book on product liability litigation. An experienced speaker, he often shares his knowledge regarding personal injury litigation at seminars.

A board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates, Mr. Zambri is former president of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Out of more than 80,000 lawyers, Mr. Zambri was named among the “Top Ten” lawyers in the Metro area by Super Lawyers®. He has also been ranked among the “Top 100” lawyers in the entire metropolitan area by Washingtonian magazine. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2016 edition) and has been repeatedly included in the Super Lawyers® magazine (2016), a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.

Mr. Zambri has been successful in litigating food-poisoning cases. He is knowledgeable and experienced in handling the unique complexities involved in food-poisoning litigation.

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