Onions are a staple in many foods that Washington, D.C. residents eat every day. However, currently, red onions are linked to a salmonella outbreak across the United States and Canada. This means that many foods involving onions—from onion rings to burgers and salads with onions on them—may be making people sick. The outbreak and affected onions may be involved in future Washington, D.C. product liability cases. Washington, D.C. residents should be aware of the concern and their legal rights if they fall ill.
According to a New York Times article covering the incident, more than 500 cases of salmonella and at least 75 hospitalizations have been reported in the U.S. and Canada. The cases are all thought to have come from red onions grown in California and transported across the two countries. In the U.S., there have been confirmed cases in at least 34 states. The majority of illnesses and hospitalizations are in the U.S. Salmonella is an illness that causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and can persist for four to seven days. Those who are older or have weak immune systems are more likely to develop severe cases, and may also experience high fever, headaches, or rashes.
The produce supplier thought to have supplied the contaminated red onions recalled red, yellow, white, and sweet onions as a result of the outbreak. Recalls are not easy—the onions have been sent to wholesalers, restaurants, and grocery stores all across North America. Health officials recommend that consumers throw away any onions (or food made with onions) supplied by Thomson—the distributor. If they are not sure where they got their onions, they are also encouraged to throw them away to be safe.