Plus update on other US and Canada outbreak investigations

Salmonella outbreaks from Mexican papayas ends

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Foodborne outbreak investigations in US and Canada

Related tags Carica papaya

The investigation into Salmonella illnesses from a variety of serotypes linked to papayas from Mexico has been closed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A total of 251 people were infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Thompson (144), Kiambu (54), Anatum (20), Agona (12), Gaminara (seven), Urbana (seven), Newport and Infantis (four) and Senftenberg (three) from 25 states.

Seventy-nine people were hospitalized and two people died – one from New York City and one in California.

Involved farms and distributors

Maradol papayas from Carica de Campeche in Tenabo, Rancho El Ganadero in Colima, El Zapotanito in La Huerta, Jalisco and Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya de Tecomán y Costa Alegre, Tijuana, Baja California were linked to outbreaks of salmonellosis.

Four brands of Maradol papayas were recalled: Caribeña brand, distributed by Grande Produce; certain Cavi brand distributed by Agroson’s; Valery brand distributed by Freshtex Produce, LLC and Frutas Selectas brand, distributed by Bravo Produce.

Mexican food safety authorities Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA) and Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (COFEPRIS) conducted inspections and other follow-up at firms of interest.

FDA identified S. Urbana on papayas from El Zapotanito in La Huerta, Jalisco.

Investigators compared pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and WGS results of Salmonella isolates from the papayas to isolates from ill people in the CDC PulseNet database.

Results showed the S. Urbana papaya isolate shared the same DNA fingerprint as the S. Urbana isolates from ill people.

Matching product samples with people

cavi maradol papaya mexico
Recall of Cavi brand Maradol papaya

FDA identified S. Newport and S. Infantis on papayas from Caraveo Produce in Tecomán, Colima grown by Rancho El Ganadero.

PFGE and WGS results of isolates matched those of ill people.

S. Anatum was identified in an imported papaya sample from the farm Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya de Tecomán y Costa Alegre in Tijuana, Baja California.

WGS showed the isolate from the papaya was closely related to isolates from 14 people infected with S. Anatum in spring of 2017.

Bravo Produce was a supplier of Maradol papayas to the grocery store chain where five of 10 ill people bought papayas.

The Maryland Department of Health collected papayas from a grocery store where several ill people ate them.

One sample yielded S. Kiambu and another S. Thompson. Both were from Caribeña brand.

WGS showed the S. Kiambu and the S. Thompson papaya isolates were closely related genetically to those from ill people.

Other US outbreaks

The CDC is still investigating 1,065 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis​ from 40 states in people who became ill this year.

At least 597 did not report international travel (i.e., likely were infected in the US) and became ill on or after May.

No specific vehicle has been identified but previous outbreaks have been linked to imported fresh produce (e.g., basil, cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, snow peas).

CDC and FDA are also investigating 30 Salmonella paratyphi infections from tuna.

The outbreak was first detected by Clark County Public Health officials.

Relish Foods first recalled frozen Newport brand 5 to 8 lb. tuna loins and then 3 to 5 lb. tuna loins, 6 oz. tuna steaks, and 4 oz. tuna steaks due to FDA sampling finding Salmonella.

Product was distributed in Washington, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and Texas between 17 June and 13 October through food service operations, retail stores and restaurants

Canada investigations

janes sofina chicken
Recalled Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken

In Canada, authorities are investigating an outbreak of 20 Salmonella Enteritidis infections in six provinces with seven people hospitalised.  

One person has died but it is not confirmed if Salmonella contributed to the cause of death.

Illnesses are linked to frozen raw breaded chicken distributed nationally.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall for Janes Pub Style Chicken Burgers – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Burgers (800g) best before May 12, 2018 (2018 MA 12) and UPC: 0 69299 12491 0 and Janes Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Cutlettes (800g) best before May 15, 2018 (2018 MA 15) and UPC: 0 69299 12542 9.

It is the third outbreak investigation​ that has led to the recall of frozen breaded chicken products since 2015.

PHAC said Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken and frozen raw breaded chicken products.

“This outbreak is a reminder that frozen raw breaded chicken products contain raw poultry and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products.

“Follow cooking instructions carefully and verify the internal temperature after cooking, as recommended, before consuming these products. Frozen raw breaded chicken products must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat.”

Meanwhile, PHAC has not yet made public details of an outbreak caused by the toxin produced by Staphylococcus bacteria​.

Maple Leaf Foods recalled its Chicken Breast Strips 840g with best before 2018 SE 29 at the start of the month with CFIA saying illnesses had been reported from eating the product.

Toxin produced by Staphylococcus bacteria is not easily destroyed at normal cooking temperatures.

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