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Beware of Green Onions

Discussion in 'Food Forum' started by General Sherman, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. There has been an unusual number of cases of hepatitus A traced to green onions. It Atlanta several people who had reported it had it traced to eating salsa at Chi-Chi's restaurant.
    The identical strain was reported in North Carolina and again traced to green onion.
    One Georgia State farmers market vendor was quoted on local news as saying his sales of green onions was now zero.

    From the Washington Post:

    "Outbreak Tied to Scallions

    BEAVER, Pa. -- A hepatitis A outbreak that has killed three people and sickened nearly 600 others who ate at a Chi-Chi's Mexican restaurant probably was caused by green onions from Mexico, health officials said Friday. How the scallions became tainted remains unclear.

    All the hepatitis A cases at the restaurant 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh have been linked to green onions, and most of the victims likely contracted it through mild salsa and cheese dip, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The two dishes both used raw or lightly cooked onions."
  2. Patricia

    Patricia Wild at heart Millennium Member CLM

    Apr 5, 1999
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Scary. ;P Thanks for the info.

  3. Cali-Glock

    Cali-Glock Mountain Man

    Feb 11, 2002
    California Sierra Mnts
    I have read a couple of articles on this scare, and have a question....

    I want to cook with some raw green onions this week, what should I do? Wash them with soap and water? Par-boil them? Throw them out? Come on I need help, I plan on making some killer salsa to eat on Friday after Thanksgiving. (I'll have 9 house guests, I will be smoking some Tri-tip, as well as making home-made chips and salsa, and tons of other goodies for our day-after Thanksgiving feast)
  4. okie

    okie GT Mayor

    Oct 28, 2001
    Muskogee Ok.
    That sucks big time I love green onions;P
  5. DWavs

    DWavs Moderator Moderator

    Feb 10, 2000
    Fortunately, I despise onions. :cool:
  6. KB4IFS


    Oct 12, 2003
    South of North
    HEP A is commonly associated with poor hygiene during food service and fecal matter. Bon Appetite
  7. Cali-Glock

    Cali-Glock Mountain Man

    Feb 11, 2002
    California Sierra Mnts
    Also due to field sanitation conditions. US crops/fields have porta-potties and clear safety/sanitation rules for harvesters/growers. Such standards are not the case in all countries however. I love fresh veggies, but I fear them... and this is exactly why!

    This article says the green onions in question had "small bulbs" whereas the green onions I purchased this weekend to make my salsa with have the largest bulbs I have ever seen on green onions. - I'll be proceeding with my salsa!!! who-hoo!

    Green Onions Chopped from Menus on Health Scare
    Thu Nov 20, 5:53 PM ET Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!

    By Anna Driver

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Until recently, green onions added a dash of flavor and color to soups, salads and other dishes. But now major U.S. restaurant chains are banning the common garnish after it was linked to outbreaks of the hepatitis A virus.

    Raw or lightly cooked green onions -- onions harvested while the top is still green and the bulb small -- were associated with outbreaks of hepatitis A in three states in September. Some of those onions were thought to have been imported from Mexico.

    A recent outbreak of the virus that sickened more than 500 people in Pennsylvania has not been tied to green onions, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) issued a warning on Nov. 15 that consumers should thoroughly cook the vegetable. Three people infected with the virus died.

    U.S. border inspectors were halting imports of raw green onions from three Mexican companies linked to two of the hepatitis A outbreaks, but not from all Mexican suppliers, the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.

    The FDA statement, which did not identify the companies, said it was clarifying remarks by a top FDA official on Wednesday who said the United States was barring all Mexican green onions.

    Taco Bell, a unit of Yum Brands Inc., is taking no chances. The fast-food Mexican restaurant chain has banned green onions from its 6,500 U.S. restaurants.

    "We've not had incidents or complaints, but we did pull all green onions," Laurie Schalow, a spokeswoman for the Irvine, California-based chain, said. "We will wait until the FDA says it's safe to return them to our restaurants."

    Other restaurants that have stopped using green onions include upscale chain P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc., and privately held Panda Restaurant Group, which operates more than 600 restaurants.

    Chi-Chi's Inc., the Mexican chain where hundreds of people fell ill with hepatitis A after eating at its Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania-based restaurant, has also stopped using green onions.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Friday will release an update on the Pennsylvania outbreak, including the food sources that have caused at least three deaths and where it originated.

    Hepatitis A is usually mild but can cause fever, exhaustion, vomiting, abdominal pain and in rare cases, death.

    The hepatitis outbreak has hurt sales of green onions. In the United States, large growers found in southern California, but many onions are imported from Mexico.
  8. KB4IFS


    Oct 12, 2003
    South of North
    Just a thought: Because someone provides porta-potties, doesn't mean people use them correctly. Handwashing in public restrooms should be performed as such;
    1. Dispense a paper towel but leave it in place.
    2. Turn on the water and dispense soap into hand and lather to position above wrist. Vigorously scrub.
    3. Take previously dispensed towel and dry hands, but hold onto towel.
    4. Now take towel and use it to turn off water.
    5. Throw towel away.
    NOTE: Please understand that this is no absolute check as you now have to open the door of restroom to leave. Did the person here before wash their hands, and if not, touch the doorknob? ^8
  9. Lupine

    Lupine raining here

    Nov 13, 2003
    pacific northwest
  10. KB4IFS


    Oct 12, 2003
    South of North
    This is why I have decided to stick to Green Eggs and Ham;Y
  11. spetsnaz777

    spetsnaz777 Team 9mmx19

    Aug 9, 2000
    Arlington, Virginia
    Crikey!!! Thanks for the heads up.;P