Going public: Mexican mangoes, first fingered in Canada, now linked to at least 79 illness in US

How do health agencies decide when to go public with information about an outbreak of foodborne illness that makes a lot of people barf?

There’s at least 73 people in California who would probably like to know after being sickened with Salmonella Braenderup, the same strain that Canadian health types revealed had sickened 22 people on Saturday.

California, you got beat by Canada in going public? This isn’t hockey, it’s public health, but adds to the embarrassing and accumulating record of silence on produce–related outbreaks.

And it doesn’t help when the story is broken by the USA Today; were you really just waiting around for someone to ask?

Daniella-brand mangoes imported from Mexico are being withdrawn from sale in the United States because of a possible link to salmonella. Splendid Products of Burlingame, Calif, which distributes the fruit, issued the voluntary recall Monday "out of an abundance of caution," says general manager Larry Nienkerk.

Or an abundance of people barfing.

Washington state has had six cases of salmonella that match the genetic fingerprint of the Canadian cases but has not yet linked them directly to the Mexican mangoes, says Donn Moyer of the Washington State Department of Health in Olympia. "We’re still looking into it."

Yes, there are always uncertainties involved; which would be much more understandable if every agency would make clear the criteria they use for when or when not to inform the public about a lot of barf.