If you have purchased papayas recently, be sure to check the label. The FDA has put out an outbreak alert, warning the public about a very serious—sometimes fatal—contamination of salmonellosis that has been linked to Caribeña brand Maradol papayas.
Caribeña brand Maradol papayas will have a green or red sticker that looks like the one below, and the FDA is urging people throw out any Caribeña brand Maradol papayas, regardless of the sticker's color.
So far, the CDC reports 47 cases,12 hospitalizations and one death from 12 states in the outbreak, and the states affected are IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, PA, TX, UT, and VA. If you believe areas of your kitchen have been contaminated (e.g. counter tops, cutting boards, etc.), the FDA recommends thoroughly sanitizing those areas or items with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water—then dry with a clean cloth or new paper towel.
Symptoms of Salmonella are diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. In some cases though, people with severe symptoms need to be hospitalized, and the infection can cause death if the patient isn’t treated right away with antibiotics.
For more information about the outbreak and what you should do if you think you have been infected, read the FDA’s alert here.