Onions make most people cry, but lately, they can make you sick. Really sick, in fact. And it is not just onions, but several foods containing onions that have recently been recalled from food chains and supermarkets across the United States due to bacterial contamination.


Gills Onions', which provides diced, slivered and whole-peeled onions and celery mix to several companies, called a voluntarily recall back on July 18 on those products with a use-by date of August 3 or before, citing a possible listeria contamination. On July 25, more products were recalled for a longer period of time. To date, the possible bacteria contamination has spread throughout 32 states and many major supermarket chains across the nation.

Among the products pulled from stores are "ready-to-eat" items such as salads and sandwiches, slaws, dips, sauces and salsas. Products also include burritos, soups, pizzas and Oxnard-based San Miguel Produce Inc.'s Cut 'N Clean, Comfort Greens kits, which have to be cooked by the consumer. The FDA has comprised a comprehensive list of the products that have been placed for recall and you can view them here.

Several outlets have reported affected products, which now include items sold in some Albertsons, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Weis, Publix and Wegman's stores across Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington, plus Canadian provinces Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.

As a result of the contamination, Oxnard Food Processor shut down the plant, said Amy Philpott, Oxnard spokeswoman. Every attempt is being made to recall any and every product during the affected time period. Gills Onions is working with the state and federal health officials to determine how this happened.

Microbiologists with expertise in Listeria control have been hired to aid in the investigation and provide recommendations on preventative measures of practice in order to avoid another incident like this.

Listeria is the most virulent of foodborne bacterial pathogens with a 20 to 30 percent fatality rate. It causes a myriad of symptoms and conditions including septicemia, encephalitis, meningitis or(meningoencephalitis), corneal ulcers, pneumonia, intrauterine or cervical infections that can lead to spontaneous abortions or miscarriages. Most of those affected develop Listeriosis and experience influenza-like symptoms including high fevers and headaches, and also develop painful nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

L. monocytogenes (Listeria) has been associated with such foods as raw milk, pasteurized fluid milk, cheeses (particularly soft-ripened varieties), ice cream, raw vegetables, fermented raw-meat sausages, raw and cooked poultry, raw meats (of all types), and raw and smoked fish. Its ability to grow at temperatures as low as 0°C permits multiplication in refrigerated foods.

Steve Gill made a statement regarding the recall, "We sincerely regret the inconvenience that this recall has caused. Public health is our priority, and we are working with health officials to determine how the problem occurred, and we are focused on taking all necessary steps to prevent future occurrences." Read more on the story here.

There have been no reported cases of illness at this time, according to Food and Drug Administration and Agriculture Department.