LOS ANGELES -- Red onions from a California supplier may have caused a nationwide salmonella outbreak that sickened nearly 400 people in 31 states, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report issued Friday.
The FDA identified Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, Calif, as a likely source of potentially contaminated red onions. The company issued a voluntary recall on all of its onions -- red, white, yellow and sweet -- due to possible cross-contamination.
U.S. health officials recommend that all consumers, restaurants and retailers avoid onions from Thomson International or food products containing such onions.
Canada's federal health department also issued a recall for U.S. red onions distributed by Sysco.
The FDA reported 396 cases and 59 hospitalizations in 31 states: Alaska (6), Arizona (14), California (49), Colorado (10), Florida (3), Idaho (5), Illinois (10), Indiana (2), Iowa (15), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Maine (4), Maryland (1), Michigan (23), Minnesota (10), Missouri (6), Montana (33), Nebraska (5), Nevada (5), New York (4), North Carolina (3), North Dakota (5), Ohio (7), Oregon (71), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (11), Tennessee (5), Texas (1), Utah (61), Virginia (4), Washington (2), Wisconsin (5) and Wyoming (11).
No deaths were reported.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can give you an infection called salmonellosis. Most human infections are caused by the consumption of food that is contaminated with the bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Contracting an intestinal infection from salmonella can lead to diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. These symptoms usually appear within three days after infection and usually go away in four to seven days.
In some cases, the infection may spread to the bloodstream and other parts of the body. These cases are associated with more severe diarrhea which can lead to hospitalization. Severe cases can be deadly if not treated promptly with antibiotics.