Thomson International, a company based out of Bakersfield, California, has recalled red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1, 2020 until now due to potential Salmonella contamination.
The Public Health Agency of Canada say there are now 239 confirmed cases of Salmonella infections that are linked to onion imports from the United States.
Salmonella is a microorganism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in children and elderly people, as well as those with weakened immune systems. Salmonella can cause fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. If the infection gets into the bloodstream, this can cause more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis. The symptoms of Salmonella typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria.
“The US Food and Drug Administration, along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections that may be linked to these onions, so Thomson International is recalling the onions out of an abundance of caution. 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,” said a statement from the FDA.
Canada’s Public Health Notice states, “do not eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California, USA, or any products made with these onions. This advice applies to all individuals across Canada, as well as retailers, distributors, manufacturers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes.”
In addition to the onion recall, Thomson International recalled seven types of salsa, prepared salads and sandwiches that contain the contaminated onions and were sold in places such as Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Trader Joe’s and more.
Thomson international has a lot more than onions in their farms; they are also known for their watermelons, bell peppers, cabbage and garlic expressions (a vinaigrette dressing made entirely of garlic cloves).
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), in the US, Utah has the most Salmonella cases with 90, followed by Oregon (85), California (76), Montana (52), and Illinois (41), as of August 5.
More about Salmonella
Salmonella is a leading cause of foodborne illness in the US. It was believed that most cases originated from meat and poultry products, but recent recalls show that contaminated produce is often the source of Salmonella infection.
Nevertheless, according to the CDC, Salmonella can be found in beef, chicken, eggs, fruit, pork, sprouts, vegetables, and in processed foods such as nut butters, frozen pot pies, chicken nuggets and stuffed chicken entrees.
In the past few years we have seen various Salmonella outbreaks in products such as Janes Chicken Nuggets, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, ground beef and even in brands selling sesame seed products, such as ARZ Fine Foods.