Thursday, August 13, 2020
Aug. 13, 2020

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Salmonella outbreak linked to red onions

Health officials say other onion types may be contaminated

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Check your refrigerator and kitchen for raw onions and products that contain them. Get ready to toss them out.

Federal health official have linked red onions as the source of the current nationwide salmonella newport outbreak being investigated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Friday evening said the onions are traced to Thomson International, Inc., based in Bakersfield, Calif. Other onion types white, yellow and sweet also could be contaminated.

Consumers, restaurants and retailers, the CDC advises, should not eat, serve or sell any onions from Thomson International or food made with these onions. The onions should be thrown out, even if no one fell ill. Check stickers on onions to see if they are from Thomson International. If they are, toss them out.

The CDC also advises to toss out any onions and foods made with them if you don’t know or can’t tell where the onions came from.

Tracing and tracking methods found that those sickened, according to the CDC, reported eating raw onions in “freshly prepared foods, including salads, sandwiches, wraps, salsas, and dips.”

There are now nearly 400 cases across 34 states with 59 people hospitalized. Illnesses were reported from June 19 through July, the CDC says.

So far, those who have become ill range in age from 1 to 102 years. The median age is 39 and more than half of those infected are female. No deaths have been reported.

The Public Health Agency of Canada also has reported 114 cases of salmonella newport linking them to imported red onions from the U.S.

Check with restaurants and retailers before eating out or buying food to make sure they are not serving or selling onions from Thomson International or foods prepared with them.

Suppliers and distributors should not ship or sell the onions, the CDC says.

At home, consumers should clean and sanitize all surfaces — countertops, cutting boards, slicers and storage bins — that have come in contact with onions.

If you have symptoms, the CDC advises you to contact your health care provider, write down what you ate the week before you became sick and contact the local health department.

Here’s what to know about salmonella infection from the CDC:

• Symptoms of salmonella infection included diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. They typically show up in six hours to six days after being exposed to the bacteria, the CDC says.

• Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.

• The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.

• In rare cases, salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

• People with weakened immune systems, children younger than 5 years and adults older than 65 years are more likely to have severe illness.

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