If You Bought This From Walmart, Don't Touch It, FDA Warns
Be vigilant in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces that came in contact with this.
Walmart is no stranger to having to pull items off its shelves, as the massive retailer sells a plethora of products, including some that have come under fire. In early October, a baby cereal sold exclusively by the retail giant was recalled for having arsenic levels that were too high. More recently, Walmart has been the focal point of a massive aromatherapy spray recall following a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) investigation into the deaths of two people. Now, the retailer has been linked to another investigation over a nationwide outbreak that has already infected more than 800 individuals. Read on to find out more about a dangerous product you might have bought from Walmart.
A nationwide salmonella outbreak has been linked to onions.
Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC have been investigating an ongoing, multi-state salmonella outbreak since July. The agencies have linked the outbreak to red, yellow, and white whole, fresh onions sold and supplied by ProSource Produce, LLC of Hailey, Idaho, and Keeler Family Farms of Deming, New Mexico. Recalls have already been initiated by ProSource, Keeler, and other companies that sold recalled onions or products containing the recalled onions, including Potandon Produce LLC, HelloFresh, and EveryPlate.
As of Oct. 29, there have been more than 800 illnesses associated with the outbreak and 157 hospitalizations. No deaths have been reported so far, but the FDA warns that Salmonella can cause fatal infections in certain people, including young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
The FDA says some of the onions might have been sold at Walmart.
On Oct. 29, the FDA released a list of specific retail establishments that received potentially affected onions from ProSource Produce. More than 30 Walmart stores were marked by the FDA, including locations in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Other major retailers noted in the FDA's report include Albertsons and Save A Lot. According to the CDC, you should use a sealed bag to throw out recalled food in the garbage.
"FDA recommends that anyone who received or suspects having received recalled onions use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination," the agency notes. "This includes cleaning and sanitizing cutting boards, slicers, countertops, refrigerators, displays, and storage bins."
The FDA asks that you refer to product-specific identification information in addition to the list of retail stores, as their list might not be comprehensive. The onions were distributed to wholesalers, broadline foodservice customers, and retail stores in 50-, 25-, 10-, 5-, 3-, and 2-pound mesh sacks, as well as 50-, 40-, 25-, 10-, and 5-pound cartons. They might have also been named under the follow brands or distributors: Big Bull, Peak Fresh Produce, Sierra Madre, Markon First Crop, Markon Essentials, Rio Blue, ProSource, Rio Valley, and Sysco Imperial.
"This list represents the best information currently available to the FDA; however, it may not include all retail establishments that have received the recalled product or may include retail establishments that did not actually receive the recalled product," the agency says.
If you don't know where your onions are from, throw them out.
Unfortunately, the outbreak is so serious that any onions should be tossed out if you don't know where they're from. The FDA says that you should not eat, sell, or serve any onions that are from an unknown source at this time. Impacted onions were imported between July 1 and Aug. 31, and might still be in your home or on shelves, as they were distributed in 35 different states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
"Onions may last up to three months if stored in a cool, dry place. Restaurants, retailers, and consumers who suspect having purchased such onions may still have them in storage and should not eat, sell, or serve them, and should throw them out," the FDA warns.
Call your doctor immediately if you notice severe salmonella-related symptoms.
Infections are still occurring, which means you need to be diligent in watching for any salmonella-related symptoms. According to the FDA, the last reported illness onset was Oct. 13. The CDC says that most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, with symptoms usually starting six hours to six days after ingesting the bacteria.
Most people recover without treatment after four to seven days, but more severe illnesses will require medical treatment or hospitalization, the CDC warns. Severe salmonella-related symptoms include diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving, bloody diarrhea, uncontrollable vomiting, and signs of dehydration such as reduced urination, dry mouth and throat, and dizziness when standing up.
"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 three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak," the CDC also notes.