Red onions culprit in 34-state salmonella outbreak, FDA says


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USA TODAY

Health officials in the U.S. are investigating a salmonella outbreak tied to red onions, which has caused nearly 400 cases reported in 34 states this month.

The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other state and local officials are tracking the outbreak of salmonella newport which has been tied to red, white, yellow, and sweet onions from Thomson International, a supplier headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif.

So far, officials have reported 396 illnesses and 59 hospitalizations. No deaths have been reported. 

The salmonella newport outbreak tied to red onions is a different strain than another happening in the U.S. which has sickened hundreds of people in 48 states. The other strain has been linked to poultry raised in backyards of homes.

States with the most cases of salmonella newport include Oregon (71), Utah (61), California (49), Montana (33), Michigan (23). For the complete list go to the FDA website.

Another 114 cases had been found by the Public Health Agency of Canada with those illnesses reported becoming ill after eating red onions at home, in menu items ordered at restaurants and in residential care settings. No deaths have been reported in Canada.

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The FDA says Thomson International will be recalling all varieties of its onions that could have contacted potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. The company has not yet issued plans for product recalls.

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers who cannot tell if their onions came from Thomson International Inc. or any food dish contains them should not eat, sell, or serve them and, instead, throw them out. 

And the FDA suggests thorough cleaning and sanitizing of any cutting boards, surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with the products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. 

The CDC says illnesses ranged from June 19-July 12. Those who became ill range in age from less than 1 to 102 years, with a median age of 39. 

Most of those who get sick from salmonella will begin developing symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection. Patients may develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. More severe cases may include aches, headaches, elevated fever, lethargy, rashes, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases may become fatal.

The illness, which is called salmonellosis, typically lasts four to seven days and most recover without treatment. The CDC estimates that about 450 persons in the U.S. die each year from acute salmonellosis.

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/07/31/recall-red-onions-culprit-34-state-salmonella-outbreak-fda-says/5560812002/





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