(UPDATED COVERAGE, May 23) Scrutiny of whole fresh Mexican papayas for salmonella and other pathogens continues, with shipments routinely held and rejected at the border after the Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert August 2011.
Meanwhile, recalls and import rejections in recent weeks support the FDA’s contention that the salmonella problem has not been resolved.
Caribe Produce recall
Caribe Produce LTD Co., McAllen, Texas, recalled a small number of Papaya Maradol Caribena brand fruit because of possible salmonella contamination discovered during routine testing, manager Stephen Corzo said May 21.
He said Caribe Produce notified all wholesale and retail customers May 15, and that the majority of the 286 cases of 35-pound cartons of fruit was no longer in the supply chain.
“Everyone is very cooperative and we have talked to all of our customers,” Corzo said. “Everyone these days wants to take extra precaution when there might be a problem and our customers have sent the papayas back.”
No illnesses have been reported.
The papayas were intended for individual sale and distributed by the case to wholesale and retail locations in the Bronx, NY, from May 14 through May 17.
Papayas & More recall
Another importer, Papayas & More LLC, McAllen, Texas, recalled more than 1,100 boxes of whole fresh papayas from Mexico April 14 because of salmonella contamination, but no recall notice was posted on the FDA’s recall Web page.
Owner Luis Anguiano referred questions to his customs broker, Rosa Ruvalcaba.
Ruvalcaba declined to provide the recall notice to The Packer. She said the load was delivered to Anguiano’s warehouse April 5 and on April 6 government officials collected samples for testing under the import alert guidelines.
“There was a shipping error,” Ruvalcaba said May 23, explaining that the load was shipped out before the test results came back.
Ruvalcaba said the government provided the positive salmonella results April 12. By then the load had been delivered to one wholesaler in Bronx, N.Y., who may have distributed the papayas to its customers.
The source of the contamination, Ruvalcaba said, was the water at the operation in Mexico. She said the grower added filters and additional treatments to the water to resolve the issue.