U.S – ProSource Produce LLC, a grower owned and operated sales and marketing company based in Hailey, Idaho and Keeler Family Farms of Deming, New Mexico, have recalled whole fresh raw red, white, and yellow onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico due to potential Salmonella contamination.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg infections linked to the recalled onions.

The recall applies to 35 states in the US and  Ottawa and Quebec in Canada – though the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has expressed fears that the onions could have been distributed nationally throughout Canada. The outbreak has sickened 652 people leading to 129 hospitalizations.

FDA’s traceback investigation which is still  ongoing identified the two companies as suppliers of the onions. 145 of the 193 people who provided detailed information on their illness, reported eating or possibly eating raw onions before becoming sick.

Several had eaten at the same restaurants, which helped investigators determine that many had consumed raw onions. Officials are still working to identify other possible onion suppliers that may be linked to this outbreak. The restaurants were not publicly identified.

On October 20, 2021, ProSource Produce LLC issued a voluntary recall of red, yellow, and white whole, fresh onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, with import dates from July 1, 2021, through August 31, 2021.

On October 22, 2021, Keeler Family Farms followed suite and recalled red, yellow, and white whole, fresh onions imported from the affected state, from July 1, 2021, through August 25, 2021, when the last shipment of onions from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico was received by the firm.

These onions contain a label that is marked as “MVP (product of MX)”.

The onions supplied by ProSource Produce LLC and Keeler Family Farms were sold to restaurants, food service locations, wholesalers, and retail or grocery stores throughout the United States. The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products or firms are linked to illness.

In 2020, red, yellow, white, and sweet onions produced by Thomson International Inc were linked to Salmonella infections across 43 states in the United States.

Salmonella symptoms

According to the CDC, around 19,000 people are hospitalized with Salmonella food poisoning every year in the United States. It’s most common in people under 20 years old. It’s also more likely to occur in the summer months because the Salmonella bacterium grows better in warm weather.

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea that lasts more than three days and is not improving, bloody diarrhea, fever higher than 102 degrees, excessive vomiting and inability to keep down liquids and signs of dehydration, including not urinating, dry mouth and throat and feeling dizzy when standing up.

Symptoms typically start 6 hours to 6 days after eating the affected food. Most people recover without treatment after 4-7 days but the illness can be especially dangerous for children young than 5, adults 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Safety Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food safety, quality and compliance. SUBSCRIBE HERE