A salmonella outbreak has hit 37 states, and onions are to blame

If you're not sure where your onions are from, toss them to be safe.
Red and yellow onions
A salmonella outbreak is linked to fresh onions. Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Fresh red, white, and yellow onions have been linked to a salmonella outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The outbreak has spread though at least 37 states, sickened at least 652 people, and hospitalized 129 people. The onions were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by produce wholesaler ProSource Inc. ProSource has volunteered to recall onions imported during its most recent imports between July 1 and August 27, despite the FDA not issuing a formal recall.

Reports of salmonella poisoning began in early August, and peaked later that month. It can take three to four weeks to determine if a sick person has been affected by an outbreak, so rates could be much higher than what’s been reported so far. Most of the reported cases have come from Texas and Oklahoma.

[Related: ‘Fugitive dust’ seems to have caused last summer’s salmonella outbreak from peaches.]

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that causes salmonella poisoning, or salmonellosis. Symptoms typically include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, which can begin anywhere between six hours and a week after consuming a product contaminated by the bacteria. It takes most people four to seven days to recover without treatment.

Onions can last up to three months in storage, so tainted onions may still be at large in storerooms, produce bins, or refrigerators. So, if your pantry contains any onions from Chihuahua or imported by ProSource, or of indeterminable origin, toss them out right away and disinfect any surfaces the onions may have touched.