Onions are a staple ingredient for many weeknight dishes including soups and sauces. It’s hard to imagine making your favorite meals without them. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning everyone to think twice about cooking or eating whole onions as they’ve been linked to a recent salmonella outbreak.
The CDC issued a food safety alert yesterday about 652 reported cases of salmonella that are being associated with whole yellow, red, and white onions. These onions were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc. They were sold to grocery stores and restaurants in 37 states including Texas and Oklahoma (See the CDC’s full list of the states here).
ProSource Inc. notes that these onions were last imported on August 27. However, the CDC warns that these onions can still last up to three months in storage. They believe the contaminated onions may still be in households and businesses across those affected states. As a result, both the CDC and FDA are investigating this salmonella outbreak to pinpoint why and how they became contaminated.
“We will provide updates as we learn more during our continuing traceback investigation, especially if there are any updates to this critical public health advice,” FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response, Frank Yiannas, said in a press release.
In the meantime, the CDC is encouraging everyone to throw away any red, white, or yellow onions that don’t have a sticker or packaging. If you can’t tell where the onions were grown at the store, they add that you shouldn’t buy or eat them either. Wash surfaces such as cutting boards and containers that may have come in contact with these onions using warm soapy water.
The CDC adds that common symptoms of salmonella include fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps that involve a four to seven day recovery time without treatment. Adults 65 and older are more likely to experience more severe symptoms that require medical attention due to a weaker immune system. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of severe symptoms listed below, they recommend calling your healthcare provider right away:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit
- Having diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving
- Excessive vomiting to the point where you can’t keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration including not peeing regularly, dry mouth and throat, and dizziness upon standing up
It’s definitely worth double checking your crisper drawer just to be on the safe side about the onions you might have bought recently.