Onions Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Product from Thomson International is linked to multistate Salmonella Newport outbreak; recall is forthcoming.

August 03, 2020

WASHINGTON—The FDA, CDC and state and local partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections. FDA’s traceback investigation is ongoing but has identified Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California, as a likely source of potentially contaminated red onions.

Although the investigation has determined that red onions are the likely source of this outbreak, Thomson International has notified FDA that it will be recalling all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. This recall would include red, white, yellow and sweet onions from Thomson International.

Advice for consumers, restaurants and retailers

Consumers, restaurants and retailers should not eat, sell or serve red, white, yellow or sweet onions from Thomson International Inc. or products containing such onions. FDA also recommends that anyone who received or suspects having received onions from Thomson International use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This includes cutting boards, slicers, countertops, refrigerators and storage bins.

If in doubt, throw it out

If you cannot tell if your onion is from Thomson or your food product contains such onions, you should not eat, sell or serve it, and should throw it out.

Advice for suppliers and distributors

Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain should not use, ship or sell red, white, yellow or sweet onions from Thomson International or food products containing such onions. Suppliers and distributors that re-package raw onions should use extra vigilance in cleaning any surfaces and storage areas that may have come into contact with onions from Thomson. If there has been potential cross contamination or mixing of onions from other sources with onions from Thomson, suppliers and distributors should discard all comingled and potentially cross-contaminated product.

The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness. Read the full FDA update.

The FDA and CDC had noted for weeks that this outbreak has been rapidly growing, although no specific food item, producer, food retail outlet or restaurant chain had been identified as the source of infections.

Ahead of the FDA’s announcement, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that Sysco is recalling red onions imported from the United States from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Sysco is recalling red onions at its locations in Western Canada (Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Regina).

On July 31, the CDC and FDA shared plans with NACS and other produce and food retail industry companies and trade associations to communicate to the public about an ongoing investigation of Salmonella Newport infections.