What to know about the CDC’s food safety alert on onions

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Eight sick South Dakotans have been linked to a salmonella outbreak linked to specific whole red, white, and yellow onions. 

On Wednesday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a food safety alert for the onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc. ProSource Inc. has headquarters in Hailey, Idaho, but the source of the contaminated onions were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico. 

There’s been 652 people experiencing sickness, including eight in South Dakota, 23 in Minnesota and three in Iowa. The contaminated onions came from July 1 through August 27 and ProSource Inc. has agreed to voluntarily recall the onions. The CDC says there’s been 129 hospitalizations linked to the outbreak throughout 37 states.

Map from the CDC.

The onions have been linked to restaurants and food service locations. 

In South Dakota, an official with Hy-Vee told KELOLAND News Thursday morning the grocery store chain does not receive produce from ProSource Inc. By Thursday afternoon, Hy-Vee was notified one food supplier carried the onions and the company is learning more information about the nationwide outbreak.

Hy-Vee said “out of an abundance of caution” anyone who bought onions from Aug. 13 to Sept. 1 should discard their onions or return them to store for a refund. A Hy-Vee official said more information will likely be provided on Friday and consumers should be aware of the onion outbreak wherever they purchase onions.

KELOLAND News also reached out other grocery stores in Sioux Falls and will update this story with any responses.

According to a release from ProSource Produce LLC, “the onions were distributed to wholesalers, broadline foodservice customers, and retail stores in 50 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., 5 lb., 3 lb., and 2 lb. mesh sacks; and 50 lb., 40 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., and 5 lb. cartons, by the following distributors and/or under the following brands:

Big Bull, Peak Fresh Produce, Sierra Madre, Markon First Crop., Markon Essentials, Rio Blue, ProSource, Rio Valley (pictured above), and Sysco Imperial.” You can see examples of all the product labels on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. 

The CDC says actual number of people who suffered from salmonella is likely much higher than 652, since many people recover without reporting the sickness.

The CDC recommends checking onions for a label indicating that they were imported by ProSource Inc. from Mexico and throwing them away. Any other fresh onions that are red, white or yellow and don’t have labels should also go in the trash.

Any surfaces that the onions might have touched should be washed with hot soapy water, and any dishes or containers should go through the dishwasher.

If you experience diarrhea, fever, bloody diarrhea, vomiting or dehydration you should contact a health care provider.

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