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By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS

Mexican onion exporters took a big hit when the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning on Wednesday, Oct. 20, saying that fresh whole red, white and yellow onions from the northern state of Chihuahua were responsible for a salmonella outbreak that has impacted 37 U.S. states and sickened at least 600 people in the United States.

The CDC warning said that the onions had been distributed to grocery stores and restaurants across the United States by ProSource Source Inc. and should be discarded.

The CDC also recommended that consumers not buy any whole red, white or yellow onions without stickers or packaging that indicate where they are from, and to throw away any onions of unknown origin that are already in theirs homes.

Salmonella traced to the onions has led to the hospitalization of at least 129 people, although no deaths have been reported, the CDC said.

U.S. health authorities are currently trying to determine if any additional onions and suppliers are linked to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, ProSource Produce has issued a recall for all red, yellow and white onions imported from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, between July 1 and Aug. 27.

Here in Mexico, where 90 percent of the country’s $396 million a year in onion exports are destined for the United States, growers have appealed to the Andrés Manuel López obrador (AMLO) government to intervene on their behalf.

On Friday, Oct. 22, the Agriculture Secretariat said that health authorities will investigate the possible presence of salmonella in Mexican crops.

As of Monday, Oct. 25, Mexico’s Public Health Secretariat had not responded to the warning nor made an effort to investigate possible salmonella cases in the country.

 

 

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