Over the years, striving for best practices, the Mexican papaya industry has faced its shortcomings with honesty and transparency. This has now resulted in a robust well-informed system that aims to provide safe fruits to millions of consumers.
Growers of papaya in Mexico work in an industry that supplies upwards of 80 percent of the US papaya market. In 2019, it was also an industry that had been linked to eight multi-state outbreaks of Salmonella over the course of eight years. The FDA took notice, and on 26 August 2019, issued a formal letter addressing the Mexican papaya industry and demanding action, noting that “recurring outbreaks taking place with any commodity are unacceptable from a public health perspective.”
The result was a years-long sustained effort to identify food safety preventative best practices specific to papaya production, develop educational resources, and train an entire workforce to prevent the recurrence of outbreaks.