Hawaiian papayas are safe to eat, despite a salmonella outbreak that has led to disease in eight other states. local officials say.
The US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Control are investigating an outbreak of 62 salmonella-related fresh papaya-derived foods imported from Mexico.
The State Department of Health and the State Department of Agriculture says there is no reason to abandon the consumption of locally grown papayas.
"The FDA has told me that their research focuses on papayas imported from Mexico," Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser said in a written statement. "The papaya-loving community of our state should be reassured that the fruits grown in Hawaii have not been linked to the outbreak, which is mainly found in the northeastern United States."
Illnesses have been reported in Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, according to the FDA. The CDC advised consumers in these states to throw the papayas out of Mexico.
Of the 62 diseases, 60 were reported in the six northeastern states.
"A patient from Florida who was reported as ill had traveled ill prior to his arrival to Connecticut," the FDA said in a written statement. "Another patient from Texas has also been reported as ill, and additional information about this patient is collected at that time. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.
All Hawaiian-grown papayas are safe to eat, said Lori Nagatoshi, director of the DOH Food & Drug Branch, in a statement.
"Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet, and the best way to reduce the risk of disease from fresh produce is to wash or boil it thoroughly under running water," Nagatoshi said.