The 37-state salmonella outbreak that might make you toss your onions (in the trash)

·3 min read

Here’s what you need to know about the national salmonella outbreak and fresh while onions about which the Food & Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control sent out alerts Wednesday.

How are onions related to this outbreak and what should I do?

The FDA and CDC have linked this outbreak to fresh, whole onions. While the agencies aren’t fingering ProSource Produce, aka ProSource, for the entire outbreak, they are saying that onions imported by ProSource from Chihuahua, Mexico from July 1 through Aug. 27 are “potentially contaminated.”

Thursday evening, the FDA announced Keeler Family Farms also was an importer of possibly contaminated onions and would be issuing a recall soon.

Salmonella illness subclusters, the FDA says, “are associated with restaurants and food service locations.” So the agency is advising not using or selling red, yellow or white whole, fresh onions.

If you’re a consumer and you don’t know if the onions in your refrigerator are from Chihuahua, Mexico via ProSource, throw them out. If your grocer or food distributor can’t tell you if their onions are from Chihuahua, Mexico via ProSource, don’t buy them. If your restaurant can’t tell you whether or not the onions they used are from that source, order a dish without onions or eat somewhere else.

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Have onions been been recalled?

Yes. Thursday afternoon, ProSource announced a recall of red, yellow and white whole raw onions shipped to the U.S. from Chihuahua, Mexico between July 1 and Aug. 31.

They were distributed in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and, Canadian provinces Ontario and Quebec.

They were sold in sacks of 50, 25, 10, 5, 3 and 2 pounds and cartons of 50, 40, 25, 10 and 5 pounds. Nine brands are involved:

Big Bull

Big Bull Onions
Big Bull Onions

Peak Fresh Produce

Peak Fresh Produce
Peak Fresh Produce

Sierra Madre

Sierra Madre Produce
Sierra Madre Produce
Sierra Madre label
Sierra Madre label

Markon First Crop.

The label to Markon First Crop
The label to Markon First Crop

Markon Essentials

Markon Essentials
Markon Essentials

Rio Blue

A Rio Blue label
A Rio Blue label
Rio Blue label
Rio Blue label

ProSource

Label for the ProSource brand
Label for the ProSource brand

Rio Valley

Rio Valley brand’s label
Rio Valley brand’s label

Sysco Imperial

Sysco Imperial’s label
Sysco Imperial’s label

If you have questions about the recall, phone ProSource at 208-928-4959, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

How widespread is this salmonella outbreak?

It’s reached 652 people in 37 states with 129 of the sick people being hospitalized. The CDC breakdown says Texas (158) and Oklahoma (98) have taken the biggest hits, no surprise considering the source of the onions linked to the outbreak. But, the next three hardest hit states are Virginia (59), Maryland (48) and Illinois (37).

The states without cases are Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington., Wyoming.

What is salmonella?

By the CDC’s count, salmonella strikes 1.35 million Americans each year, hospitalizes about 26,500 and kills 420. Most at risk for the worst effects are senior citizens, children under 5 and those with damaged immune systems. Most people get fever, vomiting, stomachaches and diarrhea that starts around 12 to 72 hours after eating the tainted food and runs for four to seven days.

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