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Texas Lawyer Helping Victims in Salmonella Onions Outbreak

Posted in Our Blog,Salmonella on October 22, 2021

Jory Lange of the Texas-based firm The Lange Law Firm is helping those sickened by onions in this massive multi-state Salmonella Onions Outbreak linked to onions from Mexico. Here is everything we know about this latest Salmonella Onions Outbreak:

The Salmonella Onions Outbreak

As of October 18, 2021, the CDC announced 652 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg have been reported from 37 states.

Fast Facts
  • Illnesses: 652  (60 new)
  • Hospitalizations: 129  (13 new)
  • Deaths: 0
  • States: 37  (1 new)
  • Recall: Yes
  • Investigation status: Active

Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 31, 2021, to September 30, 2021.

Sick people range in age from less than 1 year to 97 years, with a median age of 37, and 57% are female. Of 417 people with information available, 129 (31%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of 193 people with information, 145 (75%) reported eating or maybe eating raw onions or dishes likely containing raw onion before they became sick. Several ill people reported eating at the same restaurants, indicating they may be part of illness clusters. These clusters can provide clues about what food item may be making people sick. If several unrelated ill people ate or shopped at the same location of a restaurant or store within several days of each other, it suggests that the contaminated food item was served or sold there. States identified 20 illness clusters at restaurants where onions were served. Information from these clusters shows that many ill people ate raw onions.

Salmonella Onions Outbreak Source

The Food and Drug Administration said that an investigation had identified ProSource Inc., of Hailey, Idaho, as a source of potentially contaminated whole, fresh onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico.

To date, this outbreak has resulted in 652 illnesses in consumers across the U.S. The illnesses thus far appear to be associated with restaurants and food service locations. The FDA is advising restaurants, retailers and consumers to not eat, sell, or serve red, yellow, and white onions supplied by ProSource Inc. that were imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico from July 1 through August 27, or products containing these onions. ProSource Inc. has agreed to voluntarily recall such onions.

The FDA’s traceback investigation identified Keeler Family Farms as an additional common supplier of onions from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico for many of the restaurants where sick people reported eating. When the FDA met with the firm, the firm agreed to voluntarily recall all red, yellow, and white onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, from July 1, 2021, through August 31, 2021.


Salmonella Onions Outbreak Recall

On October 20, 2021, ProSource Produce LLC of Hailey, Idaho voluntarily recalled whole raw onions (red, yellow, and white) shipped from Chihuahua, Mexico, between July 1, 2021, and August 31, 2021, because they may have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The products are whole raw onions (red, yellow, and white) that were shipped to the United States from Chihuahua, Mexico, between July 1, 2021, and August 31, 2021, and were distributed in AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WI, as well as Ontario and Quebec, Canada. No fresh onions that originated in Chihuahua, MX have been shipped by the company since the end of August 2021.

The onions were distributed to wholesalers, broadline foodservice customers, and retail stores in 50 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., 5 lb., 3 lb., and 2 lb. mesh sacks; and 50 lb., 40 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., and 5 lb. cartons, by the following distributors and/or under the following brands:

Big Bull, Peak Fresh Produce, Sierra Madre, Markon First Crop., Markon Essentials, Rio Blue, ProSource, Rio Valley, and Sysco Imperial. Representative examples of product labels are below.

Bag Label, Big Bull Onions

Bag Label, Peak Fresh Produce Onions

Label, Sierra Madre Produce Fresh Onions 25 lb

Label, Sierra Madre Produce Fresh Onions 50 lb

Label, Markon First Crop

Label, Markon Essentials

Orange Label, Rio Blue Onions 50 lb

Blue Label, Rio Blue Onions 50 lb

Blue Label, Rio Blue Onions 25 lb

Label, ProSource Onions

Label, Rio Valley Onions

Label, Imperial Fresh Hand Selected Produce

About Salmonella

Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food.

Symptoms of a  Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal, person or contaminated product.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

These symptoms usually last for 4 to 7 days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment, but sometimes antibiotics may be required. In some cases, severe illness may occur and hospitalization may be required.

Diagnosing salmonellosis requires testing a clinical specimen (such as stool or blood) from an infected person to distinguish it from other illnesses that can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Once Salmonella is identified in the specimen, additional testing can be done to further characterize the Salmonella.

How Can You Keep Your Family Safe From the Onion Salmonella Outbreak?

Americans should not eat, serve, or sell any onions from Mexico or products made with these onions. The CDC recommends that people:

  • At home, check your refrigerator and kitchen for any of these onions or fresh foods made with them.
    • Check the package or look for a sticker on an onion to see if it is from Mexico. If it is, don’t eat it. Throw it away.
    • If you can’t tell where your onions are from, don’t eat them. Throw them away.
    • If you made any foods with onions and you don’t know where they are from, do not eat them. Throw them away, even if no one got sick.
    • Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with onions or their packaging, such as countertops, refrigerator drawers, knives, and cutting boards.
  • When you eat out or shop for food, check with restaurants and grocery stores to make sure they are not serving or selling onions from Mexico or fresh foods prepared with them.
    • If they don’t know where their onions are from, don’t buy the product.
    • People sickened in this outbreak reported eating raw onions in freshly prepared foods, including salads, sandwiches, wraps, salsas, and dips.

The CDC has made a list of Five Fast Facts to help in the prevention of Salmonella.

  1. You can get a Salmonella infection from a variety of foods. It is important to understand that foods contaminated can look and smell normal.
  2. Salmonella can spread from animals to people and people to animals. Again, washing your hands can stop the transfer.
  3. Salmonella is more common in the summer. Be sure to refrigerate food right after eating to ensure bacteria doesn’t grow.
  4. Salmonella illnesses can be dangerous for certain people. Infants and the elderly can be severely damaged, especially if not treated right away.
  5. Salmonella causes more illnesses than we know. For every one confirmed case, there are about 30 that are not known about.

What Should You Do If You’re Already Sick?

Take these steps if you have symptoms of a Salmonella infection:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
  • Report your illness to your local health department.
    • The health department will likely call you for an interview to ask you about foods you ate in the week before you got sick.
  • Assist public health investigators by answering their questions when they contact you

Our Texas Salmonella Lawyer is Here to Help You and your Family

If you believe you have developed Salmonella after eating onions, we want you to know that a Texas Salmonella lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter, helping several families already involved in the outbreak, and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange, grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and even attended Keystone High School before going on to earn his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Jory became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.

If you or a loved one have become ill after eating onions in this Salmonella Onions Outbreak, you can call (833) 330-3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.