The CDC Just Announced a Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Onions

"Throw away any whole red, white, or yellow onions you have at home that do not have a sticker or packaging," the public health agency said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a salmonella outbreak, according to USA Today, and it has been tied to one particular vegetable: onions. The public health agency put out a food safety alert on Wednesday after the CDC noted that 652 people have salmonella infections from fresh whole onions. The specific strain is Salmonella Oranienburg and has sickened consumers across 37 states, according to stats last updated on October 18. And the agency explains that these numbers will likely grow as more people report their illnesses.

The first infection was reported in the middle of September, but the CDC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and local health professionals, didn't know the food that caused the salmonella illnesses at that point. The CDC found that red, white, and yellow onions from Chihuahua, Mexico and sent for distribution out of ProSource Inc. (based in Hailey, Idaho) were linked to the outbreak. These onions were sold to restaurants and grocery stores nationwide.

whole raw onions in whicker basket on wood surface
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"ProSource Inc. indicated onions were last imported on August 27, but these imported onions can last up to three months in storage and may still be in homes and businesses," the CDC said. "Investigators are working to determine if other onions and suppliers are linked to this outbreak." Plus, they advise to toss out any possibly infected onions, as they can last up to three months in storage. "Throw away any whole red, white, or yellow onions you have at home that do not have a sticker or packaging," the CDC said, noting some may have packaging indicating ProSource as the brand and that they were grown in Mexico. "If you can't tell where the onions are from, don't buy or eat them."

Per the CDC reports, Texas has the most infected consumers at 158 people, Oklahoma has 98, Virginia has 59, Maryland has 58, Illinois has 37, Wisconsin has 25, Minnesota has 23, and Missouri has 21. The other states, which have less than 14 cases include: Kansas, North Carolina, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Dakota, Alabama, Iowa, South Carolina, Utah, Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon, Colorado, Indiana, and West Virginia. "The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses," the CDC said. "This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for salmonella."

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