Salmonella outbreak affects 37 states, including Massachusetts

Variety of onions at Stop & Shop.

Beacons better check their pantries and refrigerators, because a salmonella outbreak tied to both onions and salami sticks has recently spread throughout the United States.

The news broke Oct. 20 that several different types of onions, including red, white and yellow, had been linked to a salmonella outbreak that had impacted 37 states across the United States, including Massachusetts. This outbreak affects whole, fresh, raw onions of these varieties.

Onions affected in this outbreak include onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, as well as being distributed from the company ProSource, Inc. The CDC also advises that any unlabeled onions that have already been purchased should be thrown away, and a recall has been issued. As the CDC Food Safety Alert states:

“CDC advises people who have unlabeled whole red, white, or yellow onions at home to throw them away and not eat them. People should not eat, and businesses should not sell or serve, whole onions that were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed by ProSource Inc.” 

The CDC also noted that several people who fell ill due to salmonella after eating in restaurants had the onions in the restaurants supplied by ProSource Inc. 

75 percent of people ate or possibly ate dishes that contained raw onions or were likely to contain raw onions before they became sick. 129 people have been hospitalized due to this outbreak, and no deaths have been noted.

As of Monday, Oct. 25, the outbreak has extended to include onions distributed by meal delivery services HelloFresh and EveryPlate, as well as farms Potandon Produce LLC and Keeler Family Farms. A statement was released by HelloFresh on Oct. 23, and transcribed by Jake Shapiro of the Denver Post:

“‘HelloFresh' has been informed by one of its ingredient suppliers that it is conducting a voluntary recall of its onions due to the potential presence of salmonella bacteria,’ the company said. ‘Please discard all onions received from July 7, 2021, through Sept. 8, 2021.’”

However, raw onions are not the only food on the chopping block. Though the outbreak is not as severe, salami sticks from grocery store chain Trader Joe’s, as well as other stores such as Wegmans, have been tied to salmonella as well. 

The CDC advises that consumers should throw away all Citterio brand Premium Italian-Style Salame sticks, regardless of their best-by date. The CDC also advises that all containers and items that may have touched Citterio brand salame sticks should be washed with hot soapy water or in a dishwasher. 

This salmonella outbreak primarily has affected young children under the age of eighteen. Three people have been hospitalized due to this outbreak, and there have been no deaths. As Kate Gibson for CBS News said:

“Most of those reported ill in the outbreak are younger than 18 years old. While a majority recover without treatment, children younger than five and adults over 65 are more likely to get very sick from salmonella, the CDC stated Saturday in its alert. Those stricken include three hospitalizations, with no deaths reported, according to the CDC. The true number of sick people is likely higher than now known, and could involve additional states, the agency added.” 

This outbreak has not spread to Massachusetts yet. 

Both salmonella outbreaks are currently under investigation. Should there be any concern for the possibility of either of these outbreaks, seek out the CDC’s guidelines for preventing salmonella: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/prevention.html

For symptoms of salmonella, as well as more information revolving around these outbreaks, visit the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/salmonella-symptoms.html .

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