Oct. 21 (UPI) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to “throw away any unlabeled unions” as officials investigate an outbreak of salmonella linked to the Mexican-imported vegetable that has sickened hundreds.
“Do not eat, sell or serve red, white or yellow onions imported from Mexico, and distributed U.S.-wide by ProSource Inc.,” the CDC tweeted Wednesday.
The health officials said the onions, which were sold to restaurants and grocery stores nationwide, were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, by ProSource Inc. of Hailey, Idaho, with the last shipment being on Aug. 27.
Officials have linked 652 patients, 129 of whom have been hospitalized, in 37 states to the outbreak though no one has died.
According to a timeline of the outbreak, the first person to be reported sick was on May 30 though the majority were reported from the end of August to the beginning of September.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating the outbreak with the CDC and local partners while ProSource has agreed to a voluntary recall of the produce with import dates from July 1 to Aug. 27.
“Investigators are working to determine if other onions and suppliers are linked to this outbreak,” the CDC said.
According to the CDC’s website, most people infected with salmonella experience symptoms, such diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, within six hours and six days after ingesting the bacteria with most people recovering within a week.
However, children younger than five and adults above the age of 65 and those with weakened immune systems may experience more severe symptoms, it said.
“If you can’t tell where the onions are from, don’t buy or eat them,” the CDC urged. “Wash surfaces and containers these onions may have touched using hot soapy water or a dishwasher.”