In 2020 and 2021, outbreaks associated with the consumption of onions contaminated with Salmonella produced in the US and Mexico caused more than 2,100 confirmed cases of foodborne illness in the US. The 2020 outbreak in the US cost an estimated $203 million in consumer health-related losses. The 2021 outbreak in the US cost an estimated $188 million in consumer health-related losses. In the 2020 outbreak of Salmonella Newport, the FDA identified plausible causes, including irrigation water, sheep grazing on adjacent land, and signs of animal intrusion, such as scat and large flocks of birds that may spread contamination. The 2021 investigation of Salmonella Oranienberg infections were linked to the consumption of red, white, and yellow bulb onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. The FDA has identified several measures that can be taken to reduce future incidences, including (i) The importance of root cause analysis after outbreaks—prioritizing inspections of bulb onion farms in the US and Mexico. (II) Identifying and assessing practices and conditions associated with onion curing. (III)Supporting research efforts to better understand bulb onion production practices, including the impact of different soil conditions and curing practices on the safety of bulb onions. (iv) Supporting industry-led efforts to develop and implement best practices for bulb onion production. (v) Increase sample collection and testing of imported bulb onions from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. The FDA will encourage compliance with the applicable FDA food safety requirements through education, outreach, and technical assistance to the growers, distributors, and importers of bulb onions. Verify and measure the rate of industry compliance through inspections and sampling. Broaden scientific knowledge about production methods to reduce future incidences of foodborne illness related to bulb onions. @ https://www.fda.gov/food/new-era-smarter-food-safety/summary-fdas-strategy-help-prevent-salmonellosis-outbreaks-associated-bulb-onions
FDA’s strategy to help prevent Salmonellosis outbreaks associated with bulb onions
The FDA believes it is imperative that we share data, knowledge, and information and work collaboratively with industry and state regulators to enhance food safety and advance the goals and objectives of FDA’s Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food.