The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked fresh whole onions to a growing and mysterious salmonella outbreak, USA Today reported.
In a food safety alert Wednesday, the CDC said 652 people have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg from 37 states as of Oct. 18. The number of cases is expected to grow as more illnesses are reported.
The outbreak was first reported in mid-September but the CDC, Food and Drug Administration and local health officials had not identified a food linked to the illnesses.
According to the CDC, the affected red, white and yellow onions were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc., which is based in Hailey, Idaho. The onions were sold to restaurants and at grocery stores throughout the country.
“ProSource Inc. indicated onions were last imported on August 27, but these imported onions can last up to three months in storage and may still be in homes and businesses,” the CDC said in its update. “Investigators are working to determine if other onions and suppliers are linked to this outbreak.”
The CDC said consumers should not buy or eat the affected onions. The imported onions can last up to three months in storage.
“Throw away any whole red, white, or yellow onions you have at home that do not have a sticker or packaging,” the CDC said, noting some may have packaging indicating ProSource as the brand and that they were grown in Mexico. “If you can’t tell where the onions are from, don’t buy or eat them.”