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FDA updates investigation of onions in Salmonella outbreak

August 7, 2020 — The FDA has initiated an investigation at Thomson International, Inc. to learn more about the potential source of contamination. The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Following the recall from Thomson International, Inc., additional products containing recalled onions have been identified and recalled. Available recall information is included below and will be updated as more products are identified and recalled.

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

On August 1, 2020, Thomson International, Inc. recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Recalled products include red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped nationwide from May 1, 2020 to August 1, 2020, sold under the following brand names: Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion.

In addition, products containing the recalled onions are being identified and recalled. At this time, Giant Eagle and Taylor Farms have recalled products containing recalled onions and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has published a list of Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products Containing Recalled Onions. A full list of available recall information is included below, and will be updated as more products are identified and recalled.

The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Recommendations
Advice for consumers, restaurants, and retailers: Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc. or products containing recalled onions. If you cannot tell if your onion is part of the recall, or your food product contains recalled onions, you should not eat, sell, or serve it, and should throw it out.

FDA recommends that anyone who received or suspects having received recalled onions use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with recalled products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This includes cutting boards, slicers, countertops, refrigerators, and storage bins.

Consumers who have symptoms of Salmonella infection should contact their health care provider. Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases may become fatal.

Suppliers and Distributors: Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain should not use, ship or sell recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc. or food products containing recalled 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 recalled onions. If there has been potential cross contamination or mixing of onions from other sources with recalled onions, suppliers and distributors should discard all comingled and potentially cross-contaminated product.

Product Recall

On August 1, 2020, Thomson International, Inc. recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Recalled products include red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1, 2020 to August 1, 2020.

Onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

The onions were distributed in 5 lbs. carton. 10 lbs. carton. 25 lbs. carton. 40 lbs. carton, 50 lbs. carton. bulk, 2 lb. mesh sacks, and 3 lb. mesh sacks, 5 lb. mesh sacks, 10 lb. mesh sacks 25 lbs. mesh sacks, 50 lbs. mesh sacks under the brand names:
Thomson Premium
TLC Thomson International
Tender Loving Care
El Competitor
Hartley’s Best
Onions 52
Majestic
Imperial Fresh
Kroger
Utah Onions
Food Lion

Additionally, the following retailers have initiated recalls for onions linked to the Thomson, International, Inc. recall:

Publix Super Markets (red onions, packaged by Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc. and sold in bulk merchandise displays in AL, GA, NC, SC, TN, and VA)

Giant Eagle (red, yellow and white onions sold in produce departments in PA, OH, WV, IN and MD)

Case Counts
Total Illnesses: 640
Hospitalizations: 85
Deaths: 0
Illness Onset Date Range: July 23, 2020
States with Cases: AK (6), AL (1), AZ (14), CA (76), CO (14), CT (2), DE (1), FL (3), GA (1), ID (26), IL (41), IN (2), IA (20), KS (2), KY (1), ME (4), MD (1), MA (2), MI (36), MN (14), MS (2), MO (6), MT (52), NE (10), NV (8), NH(1), NJ (2), NM (1), NY (5), NC (5), ND (8), OH (8), OR (85), PA (9), SC (1), SD (17), TN (5), , UT (90), VA (8), WA (25), WV (2), WI (7), WY (16)