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Onions Are NOT Bacteria Magnets

I received the following question about onions. My response is below.     Chef James

Hi Chef,
I had an email stating that onions can be poisonous, can that be true?  It said that onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked, and any leftover should be gotten rid of. It is not even safe in a zip lock bag. Can you let me know what is true?
Thank you. Cecilia      (1/29/12)

Here is my response to Cecilia:

Hello Cecilia,

It is NOT true that onions are huge magnets for bacteria.  This is an email/internet rumor that can most likely be traced back to 2008.

Actually, the opposite is true - Onions and all members of the Allium family (garlic, onions, etc.) can inhibit bacterial growth.

Onion and other Allium vegetables are characterized by their rich content of thiosulfinates, sulfides, sulfoxides, and other odoriferous sulfur compounds. (the stuff that makes your eyes water).  The thiosulfinates exhibit antimicrobial properties.

Strong onions can be effective against many bacteria including Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella, and E. coli.

Thank you for using FoodReference.com
Sincerely,
Chef James

 

 

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