At least 652 people have been found infected in salmonella outbreaks across 37 states as of 18 October, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The outbreak has led to 129 hospitalisations so far but the cases are expected to grow.
The agencies urged restaurants, retailers, and residents to “not eat, sell, or serve red, yellow, and white onions supplied by ProSource Inc that were imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, from 1 July through 27 August.”
“The FDA, along with the CDC and our state and local partners, is working to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg infections linked to whole, fresh onions,” FDA said. It added that its investigation identified ProSource Inc (also known as ProSource Produce, LLC) of Hailey, Idaho, as a source of potentially contaminated whole, fresh imported onions.
The agencies are investigating to find out if additional suppliers or food items are linked to the outbreak.
The CDC and the FDA have also warned against the consumption of red, white, or yellow onions that are without stickers or packaging.
“These onions may have stickers or packaging indicating the brand (ProSource Inc) and the country (Mexico) where they were grown. If you can’t tell where the onions are from, don’t buy or eat them,” the agencies added.
The CDC has also asked people to wash and sanitise any surfaces or containers that may have come in contact with these onions.
Meanwhile, ProSource Inc has agreed to voluntarily recall such onions. The company told the CDC that these onions were last imported on 27 August but the onions can last up to three months in storage, and therefore could still be in use in homes and restaurants.
The variety of onion types include, but are not limited to, jumbo, colossal, medium, and sweet onions.
People with symptoms of diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps have been urged to contact their doctors. Children and elderly with the symptoms of salmonella may require medical treatment or hospitalisation.
More severe symptoms of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in urine or stool. In some cases, it may become fatal.
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