76 Cases of Salmonella Newport in California: First Salmonella Lawsuit Linked to Red onions Filed in California
Health Officials have announced that all the evidence collected, thus far, points towards a single California produce company, Thomson International, Inc., as the source of the recent multistate Salmonella Outbreak. In California alone, there have been 76 confirmed cases of Salmonella. When the first cases of illnesses began to appear, local and state health officials began to investigate the origin of the Outbreak through the use of epidemiological and traceback methodology.
By July 10, 2020, CDC’s PulseNet had confirmed 13 cases of Salmonella Newport in three states. At this point, health officials began to interview those infected, recording all the food consumed, restaurants attended, and grocery stores shopped at, by them within the two weeks prior to falling ill.
This information quickly identified many illness clusters. Illness clusters are defined as a group of two or more people, not within the same household, who have had a shared area of exposure, through consumption of the same food, a restaurant eaten at, or an event attended. So far, at least twenty-five illness clusters have been identified in nine states, the first of them being a group of three people from California. The majority of the clusters show a connection between the consumption of red onions and the onset of Salmonella Newport.
Traceback information shows that these red onions came from a single producer in California, Thomason, International, Inc.
In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada has been investigating a Salmonella Newport Outbreak which has recently developed in several of its provinces. Whole genome sequencing revealed that the Salmonella Newport Outbreak in Canada is related to the U.S. Outbreak. On July, 30, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada officially declared that the red onions from Thomson International, Inc., of California are the source of their Outbreak as well.
The numbers of Salmonella Newport cases have risen to 640, in 43 states, leading to 85 hospitalizations, and 0 deaths to date. Due to the way that onions are grown and harvested, several kinds of onions, such as yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions have been recalled, in addition to the red, out of concern for cross-contamination. This Outbreak has led to numerous recalls from retailers and grocery stores on a variety of onions, as well as any products which could possibly contain the onions of concern. A full list of the recalled products, related to the Salmonella Newport Outbreak, can be found here.
The first red onion salmonella lawsuit was also filed in California by California law firm The Gomez Trial Lawyers and the national food poisoning law firm of Ron Simon & Associates. According to California red onion lawsuit lawyer Ron Simon, additional red onion salmonella lawsuits are expected.