Updated on February 3, 2022, with final outbreak information.
At least 27 people in Minnesota were part of the multistate imported onion Salmonella outbreak that has ended after sickening at least 1,040 people, according to the final update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many of the people in this outbreak said they ate onions in restaurant food before they developed Salmonella infections. Several recalls were issued for the onions which were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico. (See below.)
On October 20, 2021, the Minnesota Department of Health issued a news release stating 23 Minnesotans, ranging in age from 7 to 77 years old, said they first experienced symptoms of a Salmonella infection on dates ranging from August 8, 2021, to September 18, 2021. Four of them were so sick they needed to be hospitalized. Since then, four additional Minnesota cases were confirmed to be part of the outbreak, the state has not yet released information more information about those cases.
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The CDC said it first identified this outbreak on September 2, 2021. It grew rapidly over the weeks and months that followed. When the agency announced the close of its investigation on February 2, 2022, 1,040 illnesses had been reported from 39 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
The case total from each state is: Alabama (7), Arkansas (19), California (15), Colorado (3), Connecticut (5), Florida (75), Georgia (5), Hawaii (1), Illinois (54), Indiana (2), Iowa (4), Kansas (17), Kentucky (10), Louisiana (8), Maryland (66), Massachusetts (15), Michigan (12), Minnesota (27), Mississippi (3), Missouri (59), Nebraska (10), New Jersey (5), New Mexico (16), New York (23), North Carolina (26), North Dakota (4), Ohio (8), Oklahoma (129), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (13), Puerto Rico (4) South Carolina (7), South Dakota (9), Tennessee (19), Texas (248), Utah (3), Virginia (71), Washington (1), Washington DC (1), West Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (31).
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, which include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea that is sometimes bloody, usually develop within six to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. The people sickened in this outbreak, who range in age from less than 1 year old to 101 years old, said their illnesses first began on dates ranging from May 31, 2021, to October 25, 2021, to January 1, 2022. Of 778 patients with information available, 260 were hospitalized.
Focussing on the clusters of illnesses associated with restaurant food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) collected purchasing records from the restaurants where the patients ate and analyzed them to try and identify a common food distributor or supplier. Through this process, the agency was able to identify onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, as the source of the outbreak.
Two produce distributors have issued recalls for red, white, and yellow onions, ProSource Inc. of Hailey, Idaho, and Keeler Family Farms in Deming, NM. These onions were distributed to restaurants, foodservice operations, and grocery stores from July 1, 2021, through August 25, 2021. Secondary recalls from HelloFresh, EveryPlate, and Green Giant have also been issued.
In Minnesota, the recalled onions were distributed to restaurants and to Target stores in Plymouth, Stillwater, St. Paul MIdway, and Richfield.
Salmonella Outbreaks in Minnesota
Restaurants are the most common setting for food poisoning outbreaks, according to the CDC. In Minnesota, there have been at least two recent Salmonella outbreaks at restaurants. One, in June 2021, was at Don Julio’s restaurant in North Branch. The other at, Great Moon Buffet in West St. Paul, MN, sickened 17 people who ate at the restaurant in June and July.
Food Poisoning Information
- La Mex Salmonella Outbreak May Be Part of a Multistate Outbreak
- Can I Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?
- Salmonella in Onions, Cilantro, Salsa and Guacamole
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If you contracted a Salmonella infection and would like a free consultation with an experienced Salmonella lawyer, please contact us. The Pritzker Hageman Salmonella Legal Team has represented clients in every major Salmonella outbreak in the U.S. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless we win.
UPDATE: This post was originally published on September 20, 2021, and updated October 21, 2021, to include updated illness totals and information about the outbreak source.
UPDATE: This post was updated on November 17, 2021, to include updated case totals.
UPDAte: This post was updated on February 3, 2022, to include final information about the outbreak after the CDC closed its investigation.