The Food and Drug Administration has released a partial list of retail establishments that may have sold onions from Mexico that have been implicated in an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg.
However, the list may not be accurate, according to the agency.
“This list represents the best information currently available to the FDA; however, it may not include all retail establishments that have received the recalled product or may include retail establishments that did not actually receive the recalled product,” the FDA’s outbreak update states.
The FDA reports that the onions were distributed in AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA and WI, as well as Ontario and Quebec, Canada.
In addition to checking the retailers list — which includes a number of Walmart stores along with other retailers — the FDA is urging consumers to check any onions they have on hand to see if they are from Mexico. It is believed the implicated onions came from the Mexican state of of Chihuahua, but packaging likely just says Mexico if a place of origin is indicated.
If consumers cannot determine whether they have onions from Mexico that were purchased in recent weeks, they should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase. The FDA update says onions can last for three months or more, depending on storage conditions.
As of Oct. 29, the outbreak had sickened at least 808 people across 37 states and Puerto Rico. For 505 people with the information available, 157, or 31 percent, have required hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No one has died.
Advice for consumers
“It is important that you use the product-specific information, available on the ProSource Produce LLC recall announcement, in addition to this list of retail stores, when you check the food you have to see if it has been recalled,” according to the FDA.
The agency has posted a list of additional recalls being conducted by companies that may have received recall onions from two importers, ProSource Produce LLC and Keeler Family Farms. This list includes recalls conducted by companies that further processed the onions by using them as ingredients in new products or by repackaging them.
ProSource Produce LLC has voluntarily recalled red, yellow, and white onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, with import dates from July 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2021. Additional descriptors used for these onion types may include, but are not limited to, jumbo, colossal, medium, summer and sweet onions. Additional recall information will be made public as soon as it is available from ProSource Inc., according to the FDA.
The onions were distributed to wholesalers, broadline foodservice customers, and retail or grocery stores in:
- 50 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., 5 lb., 3 lb., and 2 lb. mesh sacks
- 50 lb., 40 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., and 5 lb. cartons
And by the following distributors and/or under the following brands:
- Big Bull
- Peak Fresh Produce
- Sierra Madre
- Markon First Crop.
- Markon Essentials
- Rio Blue
- Rio Valley
- Sysco Imperial
Keeler Family Farms has recalled red, yellow, and white whole, fresh onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, with import dates from July 1, 2021, through August 25, 2021. The onions were distributed in 25-pound and 50-pound mesh sacks. They contain a label that is marked as “MVP (product of MX).” Additional details regarding the recalled products are available on the Keeler Family Farms recall announcement.
Recalls have also been initiated by companies that sold recalled onions or products containing the recalled onions.
About Salmonella infections
Food that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.
Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled onions and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized.
Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.
It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)