FDA investigating Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to red onions
The outbreak now spans across 34 US states and there have been 396 illnesses and 59 hospitalisations recorded as of 3 August 2020.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections. The Public Health Agency of Canada is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a genetic fingerprint closely related to the US outbreak.
FDA’s traceback investigation is ongoing but has identified Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, California as a likely source of potentially contaminated red onions. 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.
FDA has issued the following 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 has also recommended that anyone who received or suspects having received onions from Thomson International, Inc. use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitising 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.
Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain have been advised not to 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,” the FDA advised.
Consumers who have symptoms of Salmonella infection should contact their health care provider. Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhoea, 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.