Southern Seven Health Department (S7HD) reports that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has issued a food safety alert for Salmonella linked to Onions. Since early August 2021, 652 cases of Salmonella linked to onions have been reported in the United States, 37 of which were in Illinois, with more expected. The contamination involves fresh whole red, white, and yellow onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc. These onions were sold to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the United States. 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. Investigators are working to determine if other onions and suppliers are linked to this outbreak.
Businesses are asked not to sell or serve fresh whole red, white, or yellow onions that were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc. Consumers and businesses should check storage coolers for any whole red, white or yellow onions. If you can’t tell where they are from, throw them away. Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with these onions. And do not buy or eat any whole fresh red, white, or yellow onions if they were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc. These onions may have stickers or packaging indicating the brand (ProSource Inc.) and the country (Mexico) where they were grown.
Recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of the outbreak. The true number of sick people in this outbreak is also likely much higher than the number reported. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In the United State there have been 129 hospitalizations and no deaths associated with this outbreak.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe Salmonella symptoms:
- Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
- Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
- Bloody diarrhea
- So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration, such as:
- Infrequent urination
- Dry mouth and throat
- Feeling dizzy when standing up
Symptoms usually start 6 hours to 6 days after swallowing the bacteria, with full recovery after 4 to 7 days without treatment. Some people, especially children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems, may experience more severe illnesses that require medical treatment or hospitalization.
For more information about Salmonella linked to onions, call S7HD at 618-634-2297, ext. 9114 or visit www.cdc.gov/salmonella.