1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: JoNel Aleccia
By JoNel Aleccia Health writer
msnbc.com
updated 8/25/2011 2:37:16 PM ET 2011-08-25T18:37:16

The federal Food and Drug Administration is banning imports of all papayas grown in Mexico because of widespread and ongoing salmonella contamination, the agency announced Thursday.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. The 10-minute, 100-calorie burn workout

      What are your biggest excuses for skipping your workouts? No time?

    2. 6-year-old 'Rapunzel' chops off her hair for kids with cancer
    3. James Franco shows Jimmy Fallon how to take a cool selfie
    4. Extreme parenting: Who are we to judge?
    5. 3 mocktails so good you won't miss the liquor

More than 15 percent of fresh papayas entering the U.S. from Mexico were contaminated with the foodborne bacteria, an FDA investigation between May 12 and Aug. 18 found. That included papayas from 28 different firms and included all the major papaya-producing regions in Mexico.

The investigation followed an outbreak of salmonella Agona infections earlier this year that sickened 100 people in 23 states, and sent at least 10 victims to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those papayas were imported via Agromod Produce Inc., a distributor in McAllen, Tex.

All raw fresh and raw fresh refrigerated papaya may be halted at the U.S. border, unless the items are on a exempted list, the FDA import alert said. Papaya producers will have to prove that shipments of the fruit are free of salmonella contamination with a third-party laboratory analysis to gain future entry. FDA may consider five consecutive salmonella-free shipments over a period of time to allow re-entry.

The U.S. is a main source for papaya growers, with imports of nearly 345 million pounds of fresh papaya in worldwide in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. About 275 million pounds of those papayas come from Mexico, making that country a chief supplier.

FDA officials said that the U.S. and Mexico would continue to work together to address the problem.

"Collaboration between FDA and the Mexican government in the management of food safety problems is essential to fulfilling our responsibility to consumers in our respective countries," said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, in a statement.

Enrique Sanchez Cruz, director in chief for the National Service for Agroalimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality, said the move would reduce the risks of contaminated produce moving across the international borders.

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Alex Miller via YouTube

    Sister loves brother too much to let him grow up

    7/30/2014 1:26:08 AM +00:00 2014-07-30T01:26:08
  1. Javier Pesquera / ABC

    'Bachelorette' superfan: Stop the shame game!

    7/30/2014 12:27:07 AM +00:00 2014-07-30T00:27:07
  1. Bravo / Steve Jennings/Bravo

    Extreme parenting: Who are we to judge?

    7/29/2014 6:52:01 PM +00:00 2014-07-29T18:52:01
  1. Obama joins EU to impose new sanctions on Russia

    President Obama announced on Tuesday that not only would the U.S. be imposing additional sanctions on Russia’s defense, energy and financial sectors, but that the European Union would also be imposing new sanctions on the country. 

    7/29/2014 7:55:14 PM +00:00 2014-07-29T19:55:14
  1. Courtesy of Steve Tillotson

    6-year-old 'Rapunzel' chops off her hair for kids with cancer

    7/29/2014 6:54:06 PM +00:00 2014-07-29T18:54:06