If the possibility of being infected by Covid-19 combined with supply chain issues and labor shortages wasn’t worrisome enough, United States citizens now have another cause for concern. The CDC has issued a warning on their website informing consumers that a recent nationwide outbreak of salmonella has been linked to a seemingly unlikely source – onions.
The current data on the CDC official website relating to the contaminated onions show’s that a total of 652 known infections have occurred across a total of 37 states. The highest number of infections appear to be concentrated in Texas and Oklahoma. The outbreak has caused 129 people to be hospitalized. Currently, there are no reported deaths. CNN noted that infection rates are likely higher than reported because most salmonella infections do not require professional medical care.
In addition to the information on their website, the CDC also sent out a tweet advising consumers to throw out any onions that came from Mexico and were also distributed by ProSource Inc. They also suggested if one could not verify where their onions came from that they too should be thrown away as an extra safety precaution. Have a look at the CDC’s warning below.
The source of the contaminated onions was traced back to Mexico after groups of people who had eaten food containing onions at the same restaurant fell ill. The contamination likely happened because of a run-off of animal fecal matter that occurred at the same facility where the onions had been harvested. The distributer, ProSource Inc., confirmed that these onions were sold to restaurants and grocery stores nationwide and that the compromised batch was last shipped out on August 27, 2021.
ProSource Inc. asserted that consumers should toss any whole red, white, and yellow onions that came specifically out of Chihuahua, Mexico. The distributor also warned that the affected onions are likely still in many stores and individual homes given that onions can last for months if stored properly.
ProSource Inc. also warned businesses that in addition to throwing away any onions from the affected region, they advised restaurants and grocery stores to thoroughly sanitize any surfaces in order to prevent cross-contamination between any other nearby food products.
If one has consumed onions and is experiencing symptoms of salmonella they should monitor themselves closely and contact a health professional should their symptoms worsen or fail to improve. Salmonella is a bacteria that typically causes fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. Signs of a severe infection that would warrant contacting a health professional immediately, per the CDC, include a fever that exceeds 102 degrees Fahrenheit, noticeable blood in stool, frequent vomiting without being able to keep liquids down for an extended period of time, as well as dehydration.
The most vulnerable populations who have fallen ill due to the tainted onions include the very young (under five years of age), the very old (over 65 years of age), and those with compromised immune systems. These populations should pay particularly diligent attention to the severity of their symptoms in the event of a probable contraction. Symptoms typically appear within 6 days of ingestion.