October 25, 2021

Is Salmonella Oranienburg Outbreak Connected to Onions or Limes?

The rapidly expanding Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak has not yet been definitively solved by the FDA or CDC, but there are clues in the latest investigation information. On Friday, September 24, 2021, the CDC said that they found the outbreak strain in a takeout condiment cup that contained cilantro, onion, and lime. Is the Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak connected to onions or lime?

Is Salmonella Oranienburg Outbreak Connected to Onions or Limes?

Information posted at the National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that cilantro has tested positive for Salmonella Oranienburg, but we don’t know if the strain has been definitely established as the outbreak strain. That is probably why the CDC has not declared that this outbreak is linked to cilantro.

So what about lime? The pH of this fruit can vary depending on growing conditions and its age, but the pH range is from 2.0 t0 2.8. Salmonella bacteria can grow at pH levels that range from 3.8 to 9.5, with the optimum pH for growth of 7.0 to 7.5. That mens that this pathogen can likely not grow in lime juice. It’s important to note that lime juice will not destroy Salmonella bacteria; only heat can kill it in food. And there are no Salmonella outbreaks linked to lime in the U.S. Although, it is possible that some lime juice was contaminated and was then deposited on another food where the pathogen could grow, so this food can’t be eliminated.

Onions have  been contaminated with Salmonella bacteria and have caused outbreaks. Last year, a huge Salmonella Newport outbreak associated with red onions sickened 1,127 people in the United States. And 167 people were hospitalized. While officials found Salmonella Newport in product and environmental samples taken from onion fields and packing houses in California, the outbreak strain was not identified, most likely because the product had been consumed. However, recalls for Thomson International Onions were issued, and several secondary recalls were also announced.

In 2018, a Salmonella Sandiego outbreak linked to Hy Vee Spring Pasta Salad sickened at least 101 people in 10 states. The salad contained shell pasta, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green pepper, onion, and mayonnaise. Officials never did determine which ingredient contaminated the salads.

In 2015, a large Salmonella outbreak at the Boise Co-Op that sickened almost 300 people was linked to contaminated onions, raw turkey, and tomatoes. Officials did not determine which food caused the outbreak.

The CDC has stated that there are several restaurant subclusters in this multistate outbreak, so if you have eaten at a restaurant, especially if you have had cilantro or onions, and have been ill with the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning, see your doctor. You could be part of this Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak connected to onions or cilantro. The states with the most cases are Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Minnesota.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Salmonella Oranienburg infection after eating onions or cilantro or after eating at a restaurant, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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