A salmonella outbreak has caused US stores to recall onions after more than 600 people have fallen ill over the past couple of weeks. 43 states across the US and even Canada have reported cases of salmonella pushing a number of stores to recall red, yellow and white onions that were shipped since May by Thomson International. The company has started the their recall on the onion produce on August 1.
The US Food and Drug Administration says the contaminated onions could have been possibly sold to wholesalers, retail stores and restaurants under several brand names. These may also be sold in loose packaging at many grocery stores around the US and Canada.
Walmart, Giant Eagle, Food Lion, Kroger and Publix have already begun recalls on onions as well as prepared food products that may contain the contaminated shipment. They have asked consumers to return any items such as salads or deli items they have purchased with onions in its ingredients.
Trader Joe's and Ralph's have also started to recall onions since Monday.
Meanwhile, health officials in Canada confirmed over 200 cases of salmonella poisoning linking these to US imports of onions throwing light on the fact that Canadian-grown onions remain unaffected by the outbreak.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) sent reports stating there are about 85 Americans who required hospital care for salmonella infection as of August 7. People who have been exposed to salmonella typically will experience diarrhoea, fever as well as cramps, with symptoms manifesting within six hours to six days after exposure. Children and the elderly usually end up with severe symptoms and longer periods of recovery from the illness.
Most people do recover from salmonella infection even without treatment within 4 to 7 days, although those suffering from a severe infection could be due to the bacteria spreading to other parts of the body.
An investigation on the outbreak is currently underway with the combined efforts of the FDA, CDC and the Public Health Agency to ensure the situation can be quickly controlled and contained. As of this time, health officials have advised consumers to discard any onions and onion based products if they are not aware or have no knowledge of where they came from. They have also warned that cooked food that has come in contact with the contaminated onions can still put one at risk of infection via surfaces and items that were used in the kitchen.
Consumers are highly advised to sanitise all surfaces such as counters, cutting boards, storage bins and refrigerators.