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Onion salmonella outbreak leaves at least 15 hospitalized, 73 people ill: What to know

The CDC urges people to throw away Gills onions products, which includes diced yellow onions, diced celery and onions, diced mirepoix and diced red onions.
/ Source: TODAY

A salmonella outbreak tied to recalled onions has caused 73 people to fall ill and 15 to be hospitalized across 22 states. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are investigating the outbreak.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a voluntary recall of some Gills Onions diced onion products on Oct. 23 because of possible contamination with the bacteria salmonella. A salmonella infection can cause serious illness and even be deadly in certain groups of people, such as young children, older people and those with weakened immune systems.

No one has died in the current onion salmonella outbreak. Illnesses and hospitalizations have been reported in 22 states; however, the CDC note it's likely that more people have actually been infected that and the outbreak may have spread to more states.

CDC investigating onion salmonella outbreak

The CDC announced Oct. 24 that an outbreak of salmonella infections across the country may be tied to several products produced by Gills Onions, which may have been contaminated with the bacteria, which can cause serious illness and even death. Public health officials are still collecting data.

The illnesses started in Aug. 2, 2023. The most recent case was reported on Sep. 25, 2023. It's possible more people will be identified as part of the onion salmonella outbreak because it can take up to 4 weeks to make this conclusion.

Those who have fallen ill in the outbreak are as young as 1 and as old as 90. Most of those affected are female and white. At least 14 of the 73 people infected remembered eating or being served diced onions within a week of getting sick.

The 22 states where illnesses have been reported are:

  • Oregon
  • California
  • Montana
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Arizona
  • North Dakota
  • Texas
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia
  • West Virginia
  • New York
  • Massachusetts

Recalled onions due to salmonella

Several Gills Onion products have been recalled due to possible contamination with salmonella, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Oct. 23.

Which onions were recalled?

The recalled products include:

  • Gills Onions Brand 3 lb. bags, diced yellow onions
  • Gills Onions Brand 8 oz cups, diced yellow onions
  • Gills Onions Brand 8 oz cups, diced celery & onions
  • Gills Onions Brand 10 oz cups, diced mirepoix
  • Gills Onions Brand 8 oz cups, diced red onions

Recalled Diced Onions
One of the products recalled by Gills Onions that may be contaminated with salmonella.CDC

Oxnard, California-based Gills Onions distributed these products to the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • Washington

Pictures of the affected products, as well as their specific lot codes and sell-by dates, are available on the Gills Onions website. None of the affected products are currently being sold in stores, as they all had use-by dates from Aug. 8, 2023, to Aug. 28, 2023.

If you are still in possession of an affected product — for example, if you put it in the freezer — throw it out and contact Gills Onions at 1-800-348-2255 or the retailer for a refund. Thoroughly wash any areas that the onions have come in contact with.

What happens when you get salmonella?

When you get infected with salmonella, you develop a condition called salmonellosis. For most people, symptoms usually start six hours to six days after being infected and last four to seven days.

Symptoms of a salmonella infection include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dehydration

For some people, symptoms don't develop for weeks after being infected and they can last several weeks.

The CDC recommends that people seek medical care if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea with a fever higher than 102 degrees
  • Diarrhea that persists over three days with no signs of improving
  • Diarrhea with blood in it
  • Excessive vomiting to the point where liquids won’t stay down
  • Dry mouth and throat with dizziness and limited urination