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Avoid green onions, Knox County Health Department’s Nease says


Recent hepatitis A outbreaks in multiple states have been associated with eating raw or undercooked green onions. Because of this association, the FDA has released an advisory to consumers regarding green onions that includes cooking green onions thoroughly.

It also advises the public to “check food purchased at restaurants and delicatessens and ask whether menu items contain raw or lightly cooked green onions. Consumers who wish to reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis A should avoid food that contains raw green onions and specifically request that raw or lightly cooked green onions not be added to their food.”

It remains unclear if there is a continuing source of food contamination, specifically green onion contamination, or if that source is no longer present. However, the KCHD feels that all restaurants and other commercial food establishments should be aware of the FDA’s recommendations to the public, so that each facility can design an adequate response to consumer requests.

“We have been informed that the green onions implicated in our local outbreak came from Mexico, where sanitation standards are generally lower than those in the United States,” Ronnie Nease, KCHD director of environmental health, said.

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