The FDA has issued a second letter to papaya growers, harvesters, packers, distributors, exporters, importers and retailers outlining a series of steps to help prevent recurring outbreaks of Salmonella linked to papayas.

In an August 2019 letter, FDA called on all sectors of the papaya industry to take action to break the cycle of recurring outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with imported papayas. This pattern of eight outbreaks since 2011 tied to consumption of imported fresh papayas has accounted for almost 500 reported cases of illness, including more than 100 hospitalizations and two deaths.

With the 2020 growing season upon us, the letter highlights important work done by industry and the agency’s regulatory partners in Mexico to develop food safety best practices and stresses the importance of proactively working to keep papayas free of contamination.

In the second letter, the agency recognizes how much has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, and it acknowledges the challenges the papaya industry faces in the current environment of social distancing and constrained resources. The agency also notes that during this pandemic it is more important than ever to work together to provide consumers with a safe and abundant food supply. The agency says it is committed to continuing its work with the papaya industry and regulatory partners in Mexico, which is the largest supplier of papayas to U.S. consumers.