I am making a big container of potato salad tomorrow and using a huge onion. The remains of the onion will be refrigerated for another day.
The Real Deal on Onions
I swear everything you read on line has to be thoroughly investigated
I really thought the ONION thing sounded legitimate.
Don’t believe everything you read online, especially about the most recent hoax suggesting onions are magnets for bacteria…
As in the claim that onions are bacteria magnets, the claim that onions can rid a room of the flu virus is utter nonsense.
Some versions of this spurious “health advisory” package both these onion myths into one message
Thus, the claims in the message have no factual basis.
According to this widely circulated health warning, people should not eat raw or left-over onion because onions are “poisonous”. The message claims that, according to a food chemist, onions are regularly identified by authorities as the cause of food poisoning. The message warns recipients that onions are actually magnets for bacteria and can therefore attract and grow bacteria faster than other types of food.
However, the claims in the message have no medical or scientific basis. Onions feature a variety of sulphur compounds that have antibacterial activity. Furthermore, cutting an onion triggers the release of enzymes that initiate a chemical reaction producing propenesulfenic acid, which in turn decomposes to yield sulphuric acid. It is the sulphuric acid that makes you cry by irritating the eyes!
But sulphuric acid also inhibits the growth of bacteria. Also, a cut onion’s surface dries out quickly, reducing the moisture that is needed for bacteria to multiply.
Lastly the terminology that onions are “bacterial magnets” makes no sense. No food attracts bacteria, although of course some are more likely to support bacterial multiplication once infected.
Nothing is a bacteria magnet. Firstly, bacteria have minimal mobility. They usually travel in water droplets, if at all. Sneezes, for example. Molds can release spores which get blown around but bacteria usually grows in moist environments and are slimy, making getting airborne difficult. Secondly, if there was such a thing as a ‘bacteria magnet’ it would be enormously useful in the medical field for drawing bacteria away from the ill and infirmed.
In truth, onions do not possess any special property that enables them to somehow magically collect bacteria from the air around them. Moreover, the claim in the message that “when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the ‘victim’ last ate onions” is not supported by any credible evidence whatsoever.
Moreover, onions do not appear in any lists of foods identified as being most likely to cause food poisoning. Onions are not featured in the list of Common Sources of Foodborne Illness featured on the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. A New York Times report that discusses the Ten Common Food Poisoning Risks does not mention onion. A report about food poisoning on the NSW Food Authority website lists common food poisoning pathogens and the types of food associated with them. Onion is not on the list. The World Health Organization has also published much information about Bacterial Food Poisoning, none of which singles out onion as a high risk food. In fact, although I checked a great many credible sources of information about food poisoning during my research for this article, I could find none that specified onion as being a common cause of food poisoning.
Of course, if onions are handled or stored in unhygienic conditions – for example if they were touched with dirty hands or sliced on a contaminated cutting board, then they may pass on dangerous bacteria that could make a person sick. However, this is true of virtually any type of food.
Onions are probably less likely to encourage the growth of bacteria than many other types of food.