CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people not to eat whole white, red or yellow onions coming from Chihuahua, Mexico due to a Salmonella outbreak. Onions were distributed by ProSource Inc.
The outbreak has been traced across 37 states. They were last distributed on Aug. 27 to restaurants and grocery stores, but the CDC said they can last up to three months.
Owner of Corpus Christi Produce gave tips on what you should do at home if you see your onions have come from ProSource Inc.
“If you see that on any of your onions at home or any place you’re eating onions at, you need to throw them away and wipe any of the surfaces clean to ensure that the salmonella has been removed," Melvin Powell said, owner of Corpus Christi Produce. "And that’s really the only thing you can do to protect yourself at home.”
There are over 650 cases with 129 people in the hospital. No deaths had been reported as of Thursday afternoon. The CDC website states Texas has the most cases, although the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District confirms they aren’t aware of any cases locally.
“We really don’t have anything to worry about, they are from Mexico," said Glenn Mier, owner of Black Sheep Bistro and Angry Marlin. "And we personally buy all our produce from CC Produce, which is a local produce company.”
Powell said this kind of thing is the nature of the beast when dealing with produce, but it is preventable to keep any outbreak small scaled.
“What the supply chain can do in order to prevent this from happening is from the farmer all the way to the restaurant, you can assure that you have a food safety plan in place," he said. "And it’s actually not required by law for all the produce companies to have this.
What a lot of companies will do, like Corpus Christi Produce, we are Primus GFS certified. So, a third party company not associated with us in any way, will come and inspect us and give us a rating, based on how good of a job we do making sure our food is safe."
"It’s distributed from the big distributors, they source things from other countries and that’s why that is," Mier said "And that’s why a lot of the local smaller restaurants, we buy from the local distributor and that’s why it’s safer to purchase food through your local restaurants.”
Those that are immunocompromised, over the age of 65 or under the age of 5 are the most vulnerable to Salmonella. Most people will recover on their own but some cases require hospital attention. Some symptoms are fever and diarrhea. In severe cases it could lead to death.