row of onions in field hand peeling onion

Myths About Onion

Onions and the Flu

Q: Can raw onion prevent the flu?

A: There is no scientific evidence that a cut raw onion absorbs germs or rids the air of toxins/poisons.

A wives tale that dates back as far as the 1500s claims that placing a cut raw onion in rooms throughout a residence could protect its occupants from getting the bubonic plague.

Long before germs were discovered, the dominant belief was contagious diseases were spread by miasma, or "noxious air."

While false, this belief remained part of folk medicine through the 19th century claiming to ward off epidemics like smallpox, influenza, and other "infectious fevers."

Leftover Onion and Cut Onion

Q: Are cut onions or leftover onions poisonous?

A: When handled properly, cut onions are not poisonous. After being cut, onions can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 7 days.

A widely circulated claim states uncooked, leftover onions are 'poisonous' because they're 'a huge magnet for bacteria,' thus likely to spoil.

This claim stems from a blog post that dates back to March 2008. While the original post was removed from the internet in 2009, part of that post continues to circulate the internet.

For more information about the false nature of this claim, please read the attached consumer letter from the National Onion Association.

Sunday Brisket with Onions
Sunday Brisket with Onions

Juicy brisket cooked in a sauce of meltingly tender onions epitomizes Sunday night fare -- comforting, uncomplicated and able to feed the big family.
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