Across 43 states, over 600 people have fallen ill due to a salmonella outbreak. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this outbreak is likely linked to onions. To date, 85 people have been hospitalized.
Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, California voluntarily recalled red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions because they may be contaminated. The CDC is advising that anyone who has bought onions from Thomson International, Inc refrain from eating, serving or selling them. Any food that contains these onions should also not be consumed and can be discarded.
In early August, retailers like Giant Eagle, Publix and Taylor Farms recalled onions and foods made with onions sold in stores in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Maryland and more.
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There will be additional tracing done by epidemiologists to determine if there are any other onions that may be linked to this outbreak.
If you have onions at home, the CDC suggests that you check the package or look for a sticker on the onion indicating if it’s from Thomson International, Inc and to throw it away if so. It’s best to throw onions away if you are unable to determine where they are from, and wash and sanitize any surface that may have come in contact with onions, including your refrigerator doors, knives, cutting boards or countertops.
Typical symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps anywhere from six hours to six days after bacteria exposure. It typically lasts four to seven days with most people recovering without any treatment. People who have weakened immune systems, children under 5 and adults 65 and over are more likely to have a more severe illness.
If you have symptoms of a salmonella infection, talk to your health care provider and report your illness to your local health department. Health officials also recommend recording what you ate in the week before you started to feel ill in order to help health investigators if they contact you.
An investigation by the CDC is still ongoing.
As of July 28, there have been 938 reported cases of the salmonella linked to poultry with 151 hospitalizations. One death was reported in Oklahoma. The number of reported illnesses this year is higher than this time last year.
This story was updated on August 10, 2020 to reflect an increase in reported cases across the country.