BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A major salmonella outbreak has health officials advising people to go through their pantries. Onions from Mexico have been linked to hundreds of salmonella cases across the country, including here in Louisiana.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the outbreak is linked to whole red, white, and yellow onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed by ProSource Inc.
Baton Rouge General (BRG) family doctor Rachael Kermis explained that salmonella can be found in produce as well as meat and eggs.
“Salmonella is spread typically by any sort of fecal contamination, so we do see it in fruits, vegetables like onions where we have contamination of the outer shell,” Kermis said.
The CDC said over 652 people have been infected, with a handful here in Louisiana. But the number of people getting sick from this outbreak is likely much higher. Kermis breaks down the common symptoms of a salmonella infection.
“We look at the extremes of age, so really young people, like infants, toddlers and then when we get into the elderly patients, we worry about increase risks of complications, then we also look at immunocompromised populations,” Kermis said.
Currently, 129 people are hospitalized across the country from this outbreak and there are no reported deaths.
The onions were last imported on Aug. 31, according to the CDC. There were sold to restaurants and grocery stores. Onions can last up to three months in storage and may still be in homes and businesses.
If you have onions at home, you are advised to check to see where they’re from by looking at the sticker. If they are from Chihuahua, Mexico, have the name ProSource Inc., or if you can’t tell where they are from, then don’t eat them and wash surfaces and containers these onions may have touched using hot soapy water.