When talking about food-borne illnesses, what technically constitutes an outbreak? According to the CDC, something ceases being an isolated incident and starts being an outbreak when “two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink.”
The United States is currently in the throes of something light years ahead of an isolated incident; 12 states have reported Salmonella outbreaks stemming from the consumption of contaminated yellow Maradol Papayas.
So far, there have been reported cases in Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Maryland, Kentucky, Iowa, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. New York leads the U.S. in cases with 13, followed by New Jersey with 12, then Virginia with six.
Forty seven people have been sickened nationwide, 12 have been hospitalized, and there has been one reported death according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
According to the University of Florida, the United States is the world’s single largest Papaya importer, “absorbing more than half of the global imports between 2007 and 2009.” In 2011, the United States imported 144,566 tons of Papayas.
Salmonella’s symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, and headache, and generally last two to seven days, according to the Mayo Clinic. Want to avoid all of this? Make sure you know these food safety tips for avoiding food-borne illness.
If your usual papaya purveyor is peddling a Maridol papaya from the Caribena brand (red, green, and yellow sticker), be wary. The outbreaks have been specifically linked to that brand.