CDC: ‘Throw away any onions’ after salmonella outbreak in 37 states

Bunch of fresh onions.
Bunch of fresh onions. Photo credit Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday it had linked fresh, whole onions to an outbreak of salmonella in at least 37 states, including California, Texas, and Virginia.

The agency said to immediately throw away any unlabeled onions — without stickers or packaging — in your home. In addition, you should not consume onions from an unidentifiable source.

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CDC officials also urged people not to “eat, sell, or serve red, white, or yellow onions” imported from Mexico and distributed nationwide by ProSource Inc.

More than 650 people have reported becoming ill from the onions, and at least 129 people have been hospitalized so far. Salmonella can cause stomach cramps, prolonged diarrhea, vomiting, a fever, or dehydration. Symptoms typically begin within six hours to six days after eating the bacteria, and most people recover within a week, the CDC said.

Experts also said to wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with the raw onions.

Texas and Oklahoma saw the highest numbers of people infected, a data map showed, with 158 and 98 respectively. The CDC said 37 people in Illinois, 21 in Missouri, seven in Pennsylvania, and at least nine people in California had been sickened.

The CDC said ProSource sold to restaurants and grocery stores across the U.S. Although the company claimed it last imported the vegetable from Chihuahua, Mexico, in late August, much of the produce is stored for up to three months. So many homes and businesses could still have some of the onions.

Investigators are looking into whether any other onions or suppliers are linked to this outbreak.

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