Salmonella Outbreak Expands: Illnesses and Recalls on the Rise
The red onion Salmonella outbreak of 2020 continues to wreak havoc throughout the United States, with 640 reported cases requiring 85 hospitalizations. Cases have been reported from 43 states with leading numbers in Utah, Oregon, California. Canada has also been afflicted by the outbreak with 239 confirmed cases in 7 provinces. Joining forces, the FDA, CDC, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), have identified the probable source of the outbreak as Thomson International, Inc. red onions. This collaboration is continuing to investigate Thomson International, Inc. in hopes of finding the exact source of the outbreak.
Although food safety agencies have declared red onions as the most likely cause of the outbreak, Thomson International also recalled yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions because of potential cross contamination. The infected onions were sold under the following brand names from May 1, 2020, to August 1, 2020: Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion. Retailers have also recently begun recalling other products containing onions from Thomson International, including ready-to-eat meat products, poultry products, salads, pizzas, and sandwiches to name a few. These all encompassing recalls were made by company Giant Eagle, as well as Taylor Farms Texas for products found at grocery stores Kroger and Walmart.
As additional food companies become aware of the outbreak, it is likely other products containing the recalled onions will also be recalled. For the time being, the FDA advises consumers to not consume any onions or products containing onions with an unknown source.
Also in the news, some victims of the red onion Salmonella outbreak have sought legal assistance with at least one lawsuit having been filed by Ron Simon and Associates, a national food safety law firm, who filed the nation’s filed the first red onion Salmonella lawsuit in Riverside California against Thomson International. The lawsuit alleges claims in strict liability, negligence (including negligence per se), and a failure to warn of inherent dangers in consuming a product contaminated by salmonella.