Onions Recalled Due to Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak

The CDC is warning people to potentially toss out their onions now.

cdc onion recall salmonella outbreak
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Onions are known for making people tear up in the kitchen, but now they're causing bigger problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fresh whole onions have been linked to a major, nationwide salmonella outbreak.

The CDC updated its food safety alert regarding the outbreak on Thursday, noting an increase in known cases linked to the onions. According to the federal agency, at least 652 people have been infected with the Salmonella Oranienburg strain and 129 people have been hospitalized amid the outbreak. No deaths have been reported.

Cases have been reported in 37 states so far, but the CDC expects that number to grow.

Which states have been impacted by the salmonella outbreak?

Most cases have been in Texas, though Oklahoma is not far behind, per the CDC. Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri also have high numbers of cases.

The federal health agency has also confirmed cases in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.

"The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses," the CDC said. "This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella."

The outbreak began in mid-September. At that time, the CDC had not identified from which food the outbreak originated.

What kind of onions are part of the recall?

According to the CDC, red, white, and yellow onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed by ProSource Inc. are the source of the salmonella outbreak. ProSource Inc. is located in Idaho, but the onions are distributed widely. Affected onions were sold to restaurants and grocery stores across the United States. Onions can last up to three months in storage, so there's a chance that consumers may have them in their homes.

"ProSource Inc. indicated onions were last imported on August 27, but these imported onions can last up to three months in storage and may still be in homes and businesses," the CDC said. "Investigators are working to determine if other onions and suppliers are linked to this outbreak."

The Food and Drug Administration said that ProSource Inc., "agreed to voluntarily recall red, yellow, and white onions." According to the FDA, the recalled onions have import dates from July 1 through August 27 and include jumbo, colossal, medium, and sweet onion types.

What brands were the onions sold under?

The CDC's health alert includes a list of the brands under which the onions were sold across the country. Here's the full list: Big Bull, Peak Fresh Produce, Sierra Madre, Markon First Crop, Markon Essentials, Rio Blue, ProSource, Rio Valley, and Sysco Imperial. You can find images of the brand labels on the FDA's recall notice page.

Of course, it's difficult to know where an onion came from or what brand it is unless it still bears a sticker. So if you're unsure of where an onion came from, the CDC recommends that you don't buy and definitely don't eat it. Onions of unknown origin in your home should be thrown out, per the agency. 

What are the common symptoms of salmonella?

Salmonella symptoms vary and can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever higher than 102 degrees, stomach cramps, and dehydration. Typically, people start experiencing symptoms anywhere from six hours to six days after exposure. According to the CDC, most people recover on their own after four to seven days.

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.