With dozens of people reported getting sick from a recent Salmonella outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control are urging customers to not eat Maradol papayas from Caraica de Campeche farm in Mexico.
Salmonella has now sickened 109 people in 16 states and 35 were serious enough to be hospitalized, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its webpage dedicated to the outbreak.
The 66 cases in the bi-state area account for nearly half the 141 cases nationwide, and the 26 cases reported in New York City are the highest of any locality, officials said.
Cases appear most heavily concentrated on the East Coast, where 39 illnesses have been reported in NY, 27 in New Jersey and 14 in Virginia.
While one distributor issued a plea this week to consumers, asking them to differentiate the recalled papayas from those grown in Guatemala, Brazil, Formosa and other parts of Mexico, the CDC made it clear that if the consumer does not know the origin of a papaya, they should not consume it, and should throw it away. They have green skin that turns yellow when ripe; inside, the fruit is salmon-colored. The CDC said those affected range in age from less than 1 year old to 95, and 67% are Hispanic.
Most people infected with the salmonella bacteria develop symptoms - including diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps - within 12 to 72 hours, health officials say. The illness usually lasts between four and seven days, though most recover without treatment. However, illnesses occurring after July 14 may not have been reported yet.
The Carioca de Campeche farm in Campeche, Mexico, appears to be the source of the outbreak, according to the FDA.
HLB Specialties, a USA papaya importer, released a statement Friday that emphasized the differences between brands, varieties and countries of origin. Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm.
The FDA said it is working with Mexican food safety authorities to conduct inspections and other follow up activities.
If you aren't where your papayas are from, you should ask the store about the place of purchase. Areas where Maradol papayas have been stored should also be thoroughly sanitized.