The Green Onion Warning

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mayor al
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2003/11/17 10:23:30 (permalink)

The Green Onion Warning

I have been following the reports of the expansion of the Hepatitis outbreak that resulted from possible contaminated food (Green Onions) served at one of the CHI CHI's chain of Mexican Restaurants. There are other possible sources of the outbreak, but most reports include that food item as the center of the problem.
My question...Have you altered your use of this veggie as a result of the current negative attention it has received? If you eat at a CHI-CHI's on a fairly regular basis, have you altered your doing business there.
Personally I hesitate a bit before buying green onions right now...In fact I removed them from this weeks shopping list as a reaction to the information out about possible contamination at the grower level.
Inquiring Minds want To Know !!!
#1

20 Replies Related Threads

    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 10:29:34 (permalink)
    Mr. Mayor: Knoxville just experienced a major hepatitis A outbreak at O'Charleys and green onions are the prime suspect. This occurred slightly before the Outbreak at Chi Chi's. In Knoxville better than 100 people were affected and had one death. At last count better than 8,000 people had been innoculated.

    I have not bought anymore green onions since then and I have always been suspect of the dirty ends. I always cut them off and washed the onions. Now I do not do them anymore.

    I noticed Walmart did not have them yesterday. I do not know if they were out or running scared.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #2
    Bushie
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 11:40:17 (permalink)
    First I'd heard of this Chi-Chi's thing, so I looked up a couple of articles. Knowing that the source is most likely at the grower level, I would stay away from green onions at the grocery store for awhile. (Guess I'll just stick to raw eggs. )

    Kinda sounds like grocery stores might be pulling their green onions, anyway.

    Thanks for the heads up, Mr. Mayor.
    #3
    mayor al
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 11:44:14 (permalink)
    I looked this morning . Neither the WalMart nor the two local supermarkets were stocking them. I read where there were outbreaks in a couple of other states also. The Chi-Chi's incident has apparently struck over 500 with 3 dead so far. The fact that there have been outbreaks in more than one location tends to eliminate the dirty-handed food handler at the restaurant as the prime cause. BUT I wouldn't recommend Chi-Chi's stock for awhile (if ever).
    #4
    JoeMcKenna
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 11:50:00 (permalink)
    Why on earth would anyone eat in a ChiChi's to begin with? Hapatitis is the BEST thing you're gonna get there.
    #5
    Kristi S.
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 11:50:23 (permalink)
    It would seem that this is a veggie that might be easy to grow in a couple of larger pots on a windowsill. Correct? At least that way we can control how it is grown, and the cleanliness factor, etc. I grow chives successfully at home and am fully aware of the scrupulousness factor. They always get a good cleaning before topping my 'taters.
    #6
    Lone Star
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 11:57:52 (permalink)
    I snipped some of the green ends as a garnish for the pimento cheese I took a party this weekend. I did hesitate, but washed them very well.
    #7
    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 18:09:20 (permalink)
    All news stations in Knoxville are urging people to avoid raw green onions. They advise cooking thoroughly. As a former bacteriologist, I am searching why the onions are suspect. I wonder if they used sludge as a fertilizer. Ground soil seems unlikely as a contaiminant.

    The news source claim that washing onions is not effective in removing the Hepatitis A virus due to the layers of the vegetable. You cannot run it under the faucet and expect safety.

    It is also advised that you request no green onions from your favorite restaurant.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #8
    mayor al
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 18:44:08 (permalink)
    Paul

    One source online had said the search for the source seemed to point to some (or One) North Carolina grower. Have you read anything of that. I do recall on the recent trip that some places in the Carolinas were using "Grey Water" for irrigation of decorative landscapes. Are there any regulations as to what can be done with reclaimed water?
    #9
    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 18:56:26 (permalink)
    Mr. Mayor: Grey water is open to debate as its source. I sincerely hope it is not sewer water or sludge.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #10
    EliseT
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 19:13:25 (permalink)
    Not to be gross, but farm workers have to go to the restroom sometime. Even if they use Port-a-potties they are not perfectly leak-proof. Can you get Hep A from urine?
    #11
    Lone Star
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 19:13:27 (permalink)
    Sundancer - as a nurse, I was wondering the same thing - how could it survive in so many vegetables? It does not seem like it would be a good medium for growth.

    Can you enlighten us more?
    #12
    chezkatie
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 20:19:27 (permalink)
    I had 4 bunches of green onions in my fridge this morning.........they are now resting in the garbage. I would not begin to think of serving them now.......even if cooked.
    #13
    Hillbilly
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 20:30:50 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    Mr. Mayor: Grey water is open to debate as its source. I sincerely hope it is not sewer water or sludge.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    IF they come from eastern North Carolina, there is a good chance that they are fertilized with spray from hog farm lagoons. Any root type vegetable (onions, radishes, turnips, etc.) can be troublesome from these farms. ALWAYS clean thouroughly, and strip away at least the outside layers that can come into direct contact with sludge or other animal waste based fertilizer. Organic? No thanks.
    #14
    wallhd
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 22:18:58 (permalink)
    I LOVE green onions, but I'll just have to wait till spring when I can grow more of them in my own garden.

    If we (collectively) weren't so fixated on things organic, instances such as this might not happen. If it's a choice of fertilizer from a bag or from someone's spetic tank, it isn't much of a choice.

    Wally
    #15
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 22:48:35 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    For now, perhaps we should stick to playing the 45 by Booker T. & The M. G. 's on STAX Records instead of eating the food.
    Not Very Chi-Chi Myself, Ort. Carlton in Rapidly Spinning, Large-Holed Athens, Georgia.
    #16
    lamertz
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/17 23:46:22 (permalink)
    I appreciate the green onion news as I'm heading to the scene of the crime--N.Carolina.This is very interesting you can't peel off a few layers--that the virus permeates the onion.
    This is an area of great concern for future food crops. I am fortunate to have more than a few organic farms suppling my local farmers' market and I continue to support organic. I know bio-engineered plants are mostly what I'm eating but I'd like to think I can still grow and/or buy some real pure foods.
    I am a farm raised gal and take my food seriously.
    #17
    hermitt4d
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/18 04:39:44 (permalink)
    I have been really out of touch for a couple of days and missed these news reports - or maybe there haven't been any here. I all but totally gave up green onions a few years ago because of what they were doing to my stomach . When I was going thru my 'salad phase' in the 80s and early 90s, I ate them like crazy . Green onions sold in the stores are just regular onions harvested very early; I grow 'multiplying onions' which are much more potent, but usually only use cooked these days.

    Grey water by definition should not contain sewage, i.e., from toilets, and properly treated sludge should not be a problem, either. If you don't want to eat food grown with sludge (properly treated) used as a fertilizer, you're going to have to give up more than green onions .

    I read Schlosser's 'Fast Food Nation' while sitting in the jury assembly room so I'm thinking some grower was cutting some corners to boost productivity and hold costs down .
    #18
    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/18 05:07:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Not to be gross, but farm workers have to go to the restroom sometime. Even if they use Port-a-potties they are not perfectly leak-proof. Can you get Hep A from urine?


    Urine is a body fluid and whether it can transport the virus, I am unsure, but my guess is yes. I know for sure that feces is a problem. That is a major reason that handwashing for restaurant workers is heavily emphasized. I am sure the bell curve is all over the board as I have observed many people in rest rooms never washing their hands regardless of their purpose to visit the facilities.

    Eating out is a crap shoot. This is not the first time Chi Chi's has had a problem. One of them in Minneapolis had a problem about 15 years ago.

    Really makes you enjoy a buffet doesn't it

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #19
    mayor al
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/18 05:58:05 (permalink)
    PAUL,
    Your sense of timing and vocabulary is absolutely G R A N D !! A Crap-Shoot is the exact image of what we are talking about !!
    #20
    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Green Onion Warning 2003/11/18 06:39:59 (permalink)
    Mr. Mayor: No pun intended

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #21
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