Thomson International Inc. is recalling all of its onions, regardless of color, from all 50 states. Similar to
recall in Canada, the U.S. recall is because of links to a Salmonella Newport outbreak that has sickened a total of 510 people across both countries.
Of the infected people, 396 are from 34 U.S. states. Of those for whom information is available, 59 have been admitted to hospitals. The first illness began on July 12, but health officials expect more to be identified because of the lag time between illness onset and the confirmation required for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to add a patient to its tally.
There were 114 confirmed infected people in Canada as of July 31. The implicated onions in Canada were shipped to the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Possibly National, Saskatchewan, Yukon.
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Canadian officials did not immediately name Thompson onions, with the county’s first recall related to the outbreak involving Sysco onions. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has since added several Thomson products in a second recall notice. Sysco is one of the largest broad-line suppliers in North America. It supplies wholesalers, packers, retailers, restaurants, and foodservice operations ranging from schools to nursing homes.
Initially, it was thought that only red onions were implicated in the Salmonella Newport outbreak, but because of cross-contamination issues, all onions, including yellow, white and sweet are being recalled in both countries.
“As of now no specific source of contamination or contaminated shipment has been identified, and FDA is also investigating other potential sources of contamination and has not yet reached a final conclusion,” the recall notice says.
Many of the onions are packaged for foodservice use and have been used in multi-ingredient foods so it is difficult for consumers to know whether the onions in such foods are part of the recall. This includes foods ranging from deli salads to restaurants’ most expensive menu items.
“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. If you cannot tell if your onion is from Thomson International Inc., or your food product contains such onions, you should not eat, sell, or serve it, and should throw it out,” according to the recall notice.
Thomson, of Bakersfield, CA, told the Food and Drug Administration that the onions were shipped beginning May 1 through the present. The company’s recall notice did not include any information about where the onions came from before it distributed them.
“Onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada,” according to the company’s recall notice.
“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,” according to the U.S. recall notice.
The onions were sold under the following brands:
TLC Thomson International,
Tender Loving Care,
Utah Onions and Food Lion.