An expanding outbreak of salmonella linked to several types of onions has infected more than 1,000 Americans nationwide, federal health officials say.
Approximately 1,012 people have contracted the foodborne illness across 47 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest update of the multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections.
There have been 136 hospitalizations linked to the infections, the CDC said. However, there have been no reports of any deaths.
According to the ongoing investigation by the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), red onions are the “likely source of this outbreak.” Officials note that “due to the way onions are grown and harvested” other onion types are also likely to be contaminated. This includes white, yellow, or sweet yellow onions, the CDC says.
Ninety percent of people who have fallen ill reported eating onions or foods likely containing onions in the week before showing symptoms, the CDC said.
The agency said that traceback information collected from several illnesses identified California-based Thomson International, Inc. “as a likely source of red onions.”
On Aug. 1, the company voluntarily recalled red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions over concerns that they may be contaminated with salmonella.
Hello Fresh also issued a recall of its onions due to the potential presence of salmonella bacteria and asked customers to discard all onions received from May 8 through July 31, 2020.
The CDC advises consumers to check their homes for onions and other foods recalled by Thomson International, Inc. and several other companies, including Food Lion, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Publix, Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart.
“If you can’t tell where your onions are from, don’t eat them or any food made with them. Throw them away,” the agency wrote.
Consumers are also advised to throw away any food made with the onions, even if they didn’t get sick.
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.