The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked Americans to inspect their onions following a salmonella epidemic that claimed more than 650 lives.
The CDC stated that fresh, whole red, yellow, and white onions from Chihuahua (Mexico) are subject to the alert. ProSource Inc. distributed them to grocery stores and restaurants across the United States.
The company last imported the impacted onions on Aug. 27, but the onions can last for up to three months in storage and might still be in homes and businesses, the CDC said.
According to the CDC cases related to the contaminated onions began appearing on Sept. 1. There have been 652 reported cases tied to the outbreak in 37 states as of Wednesday.
Texas had the highest reported cases. California, Oregon and South Dakota had the highest number of reported cases.
There were 129 hospitalizations due to the outbreak, but no deaths have yet been reported. According to the CDC, investigators are trying to determine if any other onions or suppliers may have been involved in the outbreak.
The CDC advised businesses to inspect their storage coolers for the impacted onion.
” Throw them out if you are unable to identify where they came from,” said the CDC. “Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with these onions.”
Most people infected with salmonella develop symptoms, including diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, within six hours to six days of being exposed to the bacteria. Most people are able to recover from the illness without treatment. The illness usually lasts for between four and seven day. Children younger than five, adults 65 or older and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe reaction.