FDA Redoubles Call to Action for Papaya Industry to Keep American Consumers Safe from Foodborne Illness

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The following quotes are attributed to Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response:

“Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration called on all sectors of the papaya industry to take action to break a recurring cycle of Salmonella outbreaks associated with imported papayas.

“We have been working with both industry and our regulatory partners, including our counterparts in Mexico — the U.S.’s largest supplier of papayas — to strengthen these efforts.”

“With the 2020 growing season upon us, the FDA is again calling for the papaya industry to implement new, improved production and prevention practices that will further strengthen the safety of papayas exported to the U.S.”

“We will continue to monitor the safety of imported papayas using all available tools and resources, as well as evaluating ways to verify the implementation and impact of the new best practices.”

The following quotes are attributed to Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs:

“Over the past year, Mexico’s National Service of Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) has issued a new action plan for papaya producers and in collaboration with government and industry in the U.S. and Mexico, the Texas International Produce Association and the United Fresh Produce Association has published a best practices guide for the growing and handling of Mexican papayas.”

“We want to stress the importance of working proactively to keep papayas free of contamination.”

“During this pandemic it is more important than ever that we all work together to provide consumers with a safe and abundant food supply.”

“We are committed to continuing our work with the papaya industry and our regulatory partners in Mexico.”

Additional Information:

  • Today, the FDA issued a letter to papaya growers, harvesters, packers, distributors, exporters, importers and retailers outlining a series of steps that can be taken to prevent recurring outbreaks of Salmonella linked to Papayas.
  • These have included eight outbreaks since 2011 linked to the consumption of imported fresh papayas and has accounted for almost 500 reported cases of illness, more than 100 hospitalizations and two deaths.
  • With the 2020 growing season upon us, the FDA is reaching out again to stress the importance of following the latest best practices and proactively working to keep papayas free of contamination.

Additional Resources:

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