Fast-growing salmonella outbreak tied to onions: What to know

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Federal health officials have been tracking a fast-growing salmonella outbreak tied to onions that have sickened hundreds of consumers nationwide and prompted multiple recalls.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and health officials in several states to collect data in order to investigate the multistate outbreak of salmonella oranienburg infections. 

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Here is what you need to know about the outbreak: 

Cases

To date, there have been 652 illnesses and 129 hospitalizations within 37 states, according to the CDC's latest figures. There have been no deaths linked to this outbreak. 

The state with the most cases is Texas with 158 reported illnesses to date. Other states that have the most cases to date are Oklahoma, Virginia and Maryland with 98, 59 and 48 reported illnesses, respectively.   

Symptoms

In most people, salmonella will cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps anywhere between six hours to six days after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness can last up to a week and most will recover without treatment, the CDC says.

However, the illness can be more severe, spreading from the intestines to the bloodstream as well as other places in the body.

Suppliers linked to the outbreak

According to the FDA, epidemiologic and traceback data revealed that the illnesses are tied to whole red, white, and yellow onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed by ProSource Produce LLC and Keeler Family Farms.  

HELLOFRESH SUPPLIER RECALLS ONIONS AMID FAST-GROWING SALMONELLA OUTBREAK  

Recalls 

ProSource Produce LLC and Keeler Family Farms issued voluntary recalls of their products which were sold to restaurants, food service locations, wholesalers, and retail or grocery stores throughout the United States. 

Both recalls cover red, yellow and white onions with import dates from July 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2021. 

As a result, Potandon Produce LLC of Idaho Falls, Idaho also issued a recall of its Green Giant Fresh whole yellow onions in 2-lb. bags, 3-lb. bags, and 5-lb. bags as well as whole white onions in 2-lb. bags and whole red onions in 2-lb. bags, according to the FDA. 

According to the recall notice, the onions were "sourced from ProSource Produce LLC and are being recalled because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella."

Shortly after, a supplier of meal-kit company HelloFresh announced it was recalling onions "due to the potential presence of salmonella bacteria." 

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All onions that were received from July 7 through Sept. 8 should be discarded, according to the recall notice, which identified multiple HelloFresh product codes that have been affected. 

Likewise, a supplier for the meal-kit company EveryPlate also announced it was issuing a voluntary recall and that all onions that were received from July 7, 2021, through Sept. 8, 2021, should be discarded.  

Recalled onions were distributed under the following brands, according to the FDA 

  • Big Bull
  • Peak Fresh Produce
  • Sierra Madre
  • Markon First Crop
  • Markon Essentials
  • Rio Blue
  • ProSource
  • Rio Valley
  • Sysco Imperial
  • MVP

Recommendations for retailers, restaurants and consumers 

It is recommended that retailers, restaurants and consumers not eat, sell or serve red, yellow or white onions recalled by ProSource or supplied by Keeler Family Farms that were imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, during the months of July and August, or products containing such onions.

The investigation is still ongoing to "determine the source of the contamination and if additional products or firms are linked to illness," according to the FDA.  

FOX Business' Julia Musto contributed to this report

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