Federal health officials are probing a multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections that has already afflicted over 70 individuals and led to the hospitalization of more than a dozen.
As of Tuesday, 73 individuals across 22 states have been infected with a strain of salmonella, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), might have originated from recalled onions processed at California-based Gills Onions.
At least 15 people have been hospitalized, though no deaths have been reported, mentioned the CDC. However, the federal agency cautioned that the count of infected individuals “is likely much higher” than what’s being reported as some recover without getting tested for salmonella.
Multi-state Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Onions Affects Over 70 People
Gills Onions initiated a voluntary recall for its fresh diced onions products on Monday after realizing the brand was part of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) outbreak investigation.
The products, harboring the potential to be contaminated with the organism, were dispatched to six states – Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, as per the recall notice.
Both the CDC and FDA are continuing to collect data to investigate the infections alongside other public health and regulatory officials. However, of the 19 individuals already interviewed, 14 reported consuming onions or being served diced onions.
Out of the 14 individuals, six stated they resided in long-term care facilities. Three of the six live in the same long-term care facility.
The FDA ascertained that onions processed at Gills Onions were available at points of service where people had dined before falling sick. Meal records from the long-term care facilities also revealed that individuals were served diced onions from Gills Onions, as per the CDC.
— U.S. FDA Recalls (@FDArecalls) October 25, 2023
Gills Onions directly contacted customers who received the product from the company and asked them to remove it from shelves.
“We also asked direct customers to notify their customers of this recall,” the company expressed in its recall notice.
Healthy individuals infected with salmonella can experience symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, which usually last from six hours to six days after ingesting the bacteria.
However, children under 5 years old, adults over 65, and individuals with weakened immune systems “may experience more severe illnesses that require medical treatment or hospitalization,” the CDC warned.