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WASHINGTON -- Federal health officials are warning consumers not to eat four brands of Mexican papayas imported by Agromod Produce, Inc. after a 23-state Salmonella outbreak appears to be linked to them.

The Food & Drug Administration also announced that it would increase sampling of imported papayas after finding that samples tested positive for Salmonella.

The McAllen, TX-based firm is recalling all “Blondie,” “Yaya,” “Mañanita” and “Tastylicious” brand papayas sold before July 23 that were distributed nationwide and to Canada through retail stores and wholesalers.

The imported papayas are possibly linked to 97 reported cases, including 10 hospitalizations, of Salmonella Agona in 23 U.S. states, the FDA announced July 25.

 

The 97 individuals infected with the outbreak strain reported the illnesses between January and July. Fifty-seven percent of ill consumers interviewed by health authorities reported consuming papayas, prompting the FDA to test products for the outbreak strain.

The agency found the outbreak strain in two papaya samples -- one collected at Agromod in McAllen, TX, and the other at the U.S. border in a shipment destined for Agromod – the FDA said. The shipments that tested positive were not distributed in the United States, and the FDA said that 10 other papaya samples from Mexico tested positive with different strains of Salmonella.

“FDA is also working with Agromod Produce Inc. and with officials in Mexico to determine how the papayas may have become contaminated,” the agency said. “As part of this investigation, the FDA is taking regulatory action to prevent potentially contaminated papaya from entering the United States, including increasing its sampling of imported papaya.”

The company is urging consumers to return the papayas to the place of purchase and to call Agromod at 800/385-7658 with questions.