Memory expands for onions associated with Salmonella outbreak; 44 cases in Michigan

U.S. health officials warn consumers to throw onions linked to a Salmonella outbreak reported in 47 states.

Do not eat, serve, or sell onions from Thomson International, Inc., as food made with these onions. Onion types include red, white, yellow and sweet yellow varieties. Other companies have also issued reports on foods, such as chicken salads, made with recalled onions.

As of August 18, a total of 869 people have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport has been reported from 47 states. Michigan has reported 44 cases.

Foods made with recalled onions such as cheese dips like spread, salsas, and chicken salads have also been recalled. Food was sold at multiple chain of supermarkets. View the list of recalled onions and foods over here.

  • Check your home for recalled onions and recalled foods of Thomson International, Inc. and other companies, including Food Lion, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Publix, Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart Onions.
  • If you can not tell where your onions come from, do not eat them. Throw them away.
  • If you used irreplaceable onions to make other foods or did not know where those onions came from, do not eat the food. Throw it away, even if some of the food was eaten and no one got sick.
  • Wash and sanitize all surfaces which may have come in contact with onions as their packaging, such as worktops, storage bins, refrigerators, knives and cutting boards.
  • If you order food at a restaurant or grocery store, Check with the restaurant or supermarket to make sure they are not offering or selling unpeeled onions from Thomson International, Inc. or other businesses, or any food prepared with uncooked onions, including foods such as salads, sandwiches, tacos, salsas and dips.
  • If they do not know where their onions come from, do not buy the product or order the food.

Advice for restaurants, retailers, and suppliers

  • Restaurants and shopkeepers should not prepare or sell recalled onions or food containing these onions.
  • Check the list of recalled products.
  • If you do not know where your onions come from, do not serve them or sell them.
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces with which onions have come in contact, including cutting boards, beams, slicers, cutlery, and storage trays.
  • Suppliers, distributors, and others in the supply chain should not return onions from Thomson International, Inc. or send or sell other companies.
  • Suppliers and distributors who repackage raw onions should clean and sanitize all surfaces and storage bins that may be in contact with recalled onions.

View the list of recalled onions and foods over here.

Information on epidemiological and traceback indicates that red onions are a likely source of this outbreak. Because of the way onions are grown and harvested, other egg types, such as white, yellow, or sweet yellow, can also be contaminated.

Many sick people were identified as part of disease clusters. A disease cluster is defined as two or more people who do not live in the same household who report to the same restaurant location, attend a regular event, or shop at the same location of a grocery store in the week before they become ill. Examination of disease clusters can provide critical clues as to the source of an outbreak. If several unrelated sick people ate or bought at the same location of a restaurant or shop within several days of each other, it suggests that the contaminated food was served or sold there.

Twenty-eight disease clusters have been identified in 10 states. Information was collected on 21 of the 28 clusters at restaurants and groceries. Information from these clusters shows that many sick people ate red onions and other types of onions. Investigations conducted by states and FDA identified that all 21 restaurants and grocery stores serve red, yellow or white onions sold. Sixteen of the 21 clusters served red onions, 12 served yellow onions, and 10 served white onions.

The traceback information collected from several of these disease clusters identified Thomson International, Inc., of Bakersfield, California, as a likely source of red onions. Because of the way onions are grown and harvested, other egg types, such as white, yellow, or sweet yellow, can also be contaminated. Traceback is ongoing to determine if other onions are linked to the outbreak.

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