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Thomson International Onions Recall Linked to US-Canada Salmonella Outbreak

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on July 31, 2020

In Canada, Sysco has announced a recall of red onions. Now, in the US, Thomson International, Inc. has initiated its own recall. FDA’s traceback investigation is ongoing but has identified Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, CA as a likely source of potentially contaminated red onions.  Here is what we know about the Thomson International Onions Recall:

About the Thomson International Onions Recall

Thompson International Onions have been linked to the growing US Salmonella outbreak.  The CDC warns Americans about red onions, white onions, yellow onions, and sweet onion varietals from Thompson International Inc.

What Is Thompson International, Inc.?

Based in Bakersfield, California, Thompson International Inc. grows and packs yellow, white and red onions. Thomson International sells to retailers, wholesalers, food service operations and processors throughout North America and exports onions overseas.

Thompson International packs them in 50 pound or 25 pound sacks or 40 pound cartons.

Thomson International, Inc. 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, Inc. Recall information will be made public as soon as it is available from Thomson International, Inc.

Although the investigation has determined that red onions are the likely source of this outbreak, Thomson International, Inc. 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, Inc. Recall information will be made public as soon as it is available from Thomson International, Inc.

Which States Are Affected in the Onion Salmonella Outbreak?

The Onion Salmonella Outbreak continues to grow.  59 Americans have been hospitalized.  396 Americans have contracted Salmonella infections in the Onion Salmonella Outbreak.

Current state case counts are: Alaska (6), Arizona (14), California (49), Colorado (10), Florida (3), Idaho (5), Illinois (10), Indiana (2), Iowa (15), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Maine (4), Maryland (1), Michigan (23), Minnesota (10), Missouri (6), Montana (33), Nebraska (5), Nevada (5), New York (4), North Carolina (3), North Dakota (5), Ohio (7), Oregon (71), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (11), Tennessee (5), Texas (1), Utah (61), Virginia (4), Washington (2), Wisconsin (5), Wyoming (11).

Recommendations from the FDA

The FDA notified the public of their recommendations for this outbreak, as follows:

“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. 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.

FDA recommends that anyone who received or suspects having received onions from Thomson International, Inc. 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.

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 red, white, yellow, or sweet onions from Thomson International, Inc. 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 International, Inc. If there has been potential cross contamination or mixing of onions from other sources with onions from Thomson International, Inc., suppliers and distributors should discard all comingled and potentially cross-contaminated product.”

About Salmonella

Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food.

Symptoms of a  Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal, person or contaminated product.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

These symptoms usually last for 4 to 7 days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment, but sometimes antibiotics may be required. In some cases, severe illness may occur and hospitalization may be required.

Diagnosing salmonellosis requires testing a clinical specimen (such as stool or blood) from an infected person to distinguish it from other illnesses that can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Once Salmonella is identified in the specimen, additional testing can be done to further characterize the Salmonella.

How Can You Keep Your Family Safe From the Onion Salmonella Outbreak?

Americans should not eat, serve, or sell any onions from Thomson International Inc. or products made with these onions. The CDC recommends that people:

  • At home, check your refrigerator and kitchen for any of these onions or fresh foods made with them.
    • Check the package or look for a sticker on an onion to see if it is from Thomson International, Inc. If it is, don’t eat it. Throw it away.
    • If you can’t tell where your onions are from, don’t eat them. Throw them away.
    • If you made any foods with onions and you don’t know where they are from, do not eat them. Throw them away, even if no one got sick.
    • Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with onions or their packaging, such as countertops, refrigerator drawers, knives, and cutting boards.
  • When you eat out or shop for food, check with restaurants and grocery stores to make sure they are not serving or selling onions from Thomson International Inc., or fresh foods prepared with them.
    • If they don’t know where their onions are from, don’t buy the product.
    • People sickened in this outbreak reported eating raw onions in freshly prepared foods, including salads, sandwiches, wraps, salsas, and dips.

What Should You Do If You’re Already Sick?

Take these steps if you have symptoms of a Salmonella infection:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
  • Report your illness to your local health department.
    • The health department will likely call you for an interview to ask you about foods you ate in the week before you got sick.
  • Assist public health investigators by answering their questions when they contact you.

How The Lange Law Firm Can Help

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm is one of the only law firms in the nation focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits.

If you got sick in this latest Thomson International Onions Recall and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help.  Our Salmonella lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your Salmonella food poisoning.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.

By: Candess Zona-Mendola