It’s tough to keep up with food safety sometimes — I mean, I can barely make it through all my Snapchat stories most days, never mind keep a constant eye on the FDA’s website. But do you know what makes it even harder to follow the seemingly endless streams of recalls and warning? Deliberate obfuscation on the part of the people distributing our food.
That’s what happened with Grande Produce LLC — a major nationwide importer of papayas. Their product has been linked to a salmonella outbreak that’s killed at least one person and made almost 50 others sick. But the company has yet to announce the recall to the public, and leaving consumers in the dark about a potentially deadly source of contamination is just not OK.
Because Grande Produce LLC has not made the recall public, the FDA stepped in. They’ve announced a recall of all Caribeña brand Maradol papayas and have advised consumers to stop eating any papayas from Mexico at all, as they suspect that more brands might be contaminated as well.
So far, there have been 47 people affected by this salmonella outbreak, including 12 who were hospitalized and one who sadly died. It’s affected 12 states so far: Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
If you do have any of these papayas in your home, dispose of them and then disinfect any surfaces they may have come into contact with (the fridge, counters, cutting boards, knives) with bleach and hot water. Wear disposable gloves while cleaning for extra protection.
If you’ve eaten papaya recently and experienced any of the symptoms of salmonella infection, like stomach pain, vomiting, fever or diarrhea, go to a doctor immediately so you can be tested. Symptoms can be delayed by up to 72 hours and usually last anywhere from a couple of days to a full week.
It’s one thing to have your product accidentally come into contact with a dangerous contaminant, but to know about a major risk factor and actively decide not alert the public is just irresponsible and dangerous. Here’s hoping the FDA’s actions will prevent any more innocent papaya lovers from falling ill.