Consumers nationwide advised to throw out any unlabeled red, white or yellow onions
ProSource has voluntarily recalled whole onions shipped from Chihuahua between July 1 and Aug. 31, 2021. The onions were distributed in 35 states in mesh bags ranging from 2 pounds to 50 pounds and in cartons ranging from 5 pounds to 50 pounds.
Additionally, Keeler Family Farms voluntarily recalled its red, yellow and white onions sold under the MVP brand that were shipped from July 1 to Aug. 25 and imported from Chihuahua, Mexico. Although to date no onions marketed through Keeler Family Farms have tested positive for salmonella, the recall is being implemented out of an abundance of caution.
The CDC says that 652 people were confirmed to have been infected with the outbreak strain, Salmonella Oranienburg, in 37 states between May 31 and Sept. 30. They range in age from less than a year to 97. Of those victims, 129 were hospitalized.
Additionally, 145 of the 193 people who provided detailed information on their illness reported eating or possibly eating raw onions before becoming sick. Several had eaten at the same restaurants, which helped investigators determine that many had eaten raw onions.
The actual number of infections is likely higher because people are not regularly tested for salmonella, the CDC says, and many who are infected recover without seeing a doctor. Since it takes up to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak, more victims may be added to the total.
Possible onion outbreaks can be difficult for experts to investigate, since onions are a “stealthy” ingredient in many dishes, and people may not know if they’ve eaten them, the CDC says.
Onions can become contaminated at any point in the food supply chain — while growing in the fields, during processing or distribution, or when they’re being prepared in a restaurant or home. Last year, a salmonella outbreak from contaminated red onions caused more than 1,000 infections.
- Throw away onions with stickers or packaging that says “product of Mexico” and that says they are from Keeler Family Farms, ProSource Inc. or one of its brands.
- If you can’t tell where the onions are from, don’t eat or buy them.
- Wash surfaces and containers that contaminated onions may have touched with hot soapy water or in a dishwasher.
Symptoms of a salmonella infection:
Those who contract salmonellosis, the intestinal infection caused by the bacteria, typically experience diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. In severe cases, the infection can spread beyond the intestines. Although symptoms usually begin six hours to six days after infection and last up to seven days, in some instances, they appear weeks after infection or persist for weeks, say the CDC.
Infections are diagnosed with a lab test. Although most people can recover without an antibiotic, one is recommended for anyone with a severe illness. Antibiotics are also recommended for infected adults older than 65 (or over 50 if an underlying condition such as heart disease is present), infants, and those with weakened immune systems.
Most people recover from salmonellosis in four to seven days.
Call your health care provider if you experience any of these severe symptoms:
- Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 degrees
- Diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving
- Bloody diarrhea
- So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down.