Outbreak of Salmonella Newport Infections Linked to Onions

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Updated August 12, 2020 at 2:00 PM ET

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationexternal icon (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections linked to onions.

Recall and Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers
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At A Glance
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Do not eat, serve, or sell recalledexternal icon onions from Thomson International, Inc., or food made with these onions. Onion types include red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow varieties. Other companies have also issued recalls of foods, like chicken salads, made with recalled onions.

  • At home, check your refrigerator and kitchen for recalled onions or foods made with them, such as salads, wraps, tacos, sandwiches, etc.
    • Check the package or look for a sticker on the onion to see if it is from Thomson International, Inc., or one of the brand names below. If it is, don’t eat it. Throw it away.
      • Other brand names that may be on labels include: Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion.
      • See the recall noticeexternal icon to check for further details and pictures of the products.
    • Some foods made with recalled onions, such as deli salads and vegetable mixes, have also been recalled. Check your homes for the recalled products listed below.
    • If you can’t tell where your onions are from, don’t eat them. Throw them away.
    • If you used onions to make any other food and don’t know where the onions were from, don’t eat the food. Throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one got sick.
    • Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with onions or their packaging, such as countertops, storage bins, refrigerator drawers, knives, and cutting boards.
  • When you order food from a restaurant or shop for food, check with the restaurant or grocery store to make sure they are not serving or selling recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc., or any foods prepared with recalled onions, including foods such as salads, sandwiches, tacos, salsas, and dips.
    • If they don’t know where their onions are from, don’t buy the product.
    • People sickened in this outbreak reported eating onions in freshly prepared foods, including salads, sandwiches, tacos, salsas, and dips.

Advice to Restaurants, Retailers, and Suppliers

  • Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc., or food prepared with these onions.
    • If you don’t know where your onions are from, don’t serve or sell them.
    • Clean and sanitize all surfaces that onions have come in contact with, including cutting boards, countertops, slicers, utensils, and storage bins.
  • Suppliers, distributors, and others in the supply chain should not ship or sell recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc.
    • Suppliers and distributors that repackage raw onions should clean and sanitize any surfaces and storage bins that may have come in contact with recalled onions.

Recalls

  • On August 1, 2020, Thomson International, Inc., voluntarily recalled red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.
    • Onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
    • Onions were distributed in bulk cartons and mesh sacks ranging from 2 to 50 pounds under these brand names: Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion.
    • See the recall noticeexternal icon to check for universal product codes (UPC) and pictures of the products.
  • On August 1, Giant Eagle recalledexternal icon onions and foods made with recalled onions sold in stores across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Maryland.
  • On August 5, Publix recalledexternal icon onions sold in bulk at stores in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
  • On August 5, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) issued a public health alertexternal icon for products made with recalled onions. Check the alert for product details and pictures. USDA-FSIS will update the public health alert as more information becomes available.
  • On August 5, Taylor Farms issued a recallexternal icon of foods that were made from recalled onions.
  • On August 10, Progressive Produce LLC recalledexternal icon red onions sold at Trader Joe’s stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah as well as yellow onions sold in Ralph’s stores in California.
  • On August 10, Spokane Produce Inc. recalledexternal icon foods that were made from recalled onions.
  • There may be additional recalls related to this outbreak. Please refer to the FSISexternal icon and FDAexternal icon websites for the latest recall information.

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.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
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  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 6 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • Children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
  • For more information, see Symptoms of Salmonella Infection.
Latest Outbreak Information
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  • Since the last case count update on July 31, 2020, an additional 244 ill people have been reported in this outbreak, including 15 from 10 new states: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, West Virginia.
  • On August 1, Giant Eagle recalledexternal icon produce and prepared foods sold in stores across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Maryland.
  • On August 5, Publix recalledexternal icon onions sold in bulk at stores in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
  • On August 5, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) issued a public health alertexternal icon for products made with recalled onions. Check the alert for product details and pictures. USDA-FSIS will update the public health alert as more information becomes available.
  • On August 5, Taylor Farms issued a recallexternal icon of foods that were made from recalled onions.
  • A total of 640 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport have been reported from 43 states.
    • 85 hospitalizations have been reported. No deaths have been reported.
  • Epidemiologic and traceback information showed that red onions are a likely source of this outbreak.
  • This investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.
Investigation Details

August 7, 2020

As of August 6, 2020, a total of 640 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport have been reported from 43 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 19, 2020, to July 23, 2020. Ill people range in age from less than 1 to 102 years, with a median age of 39. Fifty-four percent of ill people are female. Of 343 ill people with information available, 85 hospitalizations have been reported. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Whole genome sequencing analysis of 48 isolates from ill people did not predict any antibiotic resistance. Standard antibiotic susceptibility testing by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory is underway.

Whole genome sequencing analysis shows that an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in Canada is related genetically to this outbreak in the United States. This means that people in both of these outbreaks are likely to share a common source of infection.

Investigation of the Outbreak

On July 10, 2020, CDC’s PulseNet identified an outbreak of 13 Salmonella Newport infections in three states. Since being identified, the outbreak has rapidly grown to a total of 640 infections in 43 states.

State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures in the week before their illness started.

Many ill people were identified as part of illness clusters. An illness cluster is defined as two or more people who do not live in the same household who report eating at the same restaurant location, attending a common event, or shopping at the same location of a grocery store in the week before becoming ill. Investigating illness clusters can provide critical clues about the source of an outbreak. If several unrelated ill people ate or shopped at the same location of a restaurant or store within several days of each other, it suggests that the contaminated food item was served or sold there. Twenty-five illness clusters have been identified in nine states. Information from these clusters shows that many ill people ate red onions. The traceback information collected from these illness clusters identified Thomson International, Inc., of Bakersfield, Calif., as a likely source of red onions. Due to the way onions are grown and harvested, other onion types, such as, white, yellow, or sweet yellow, may also be contaminated. Additional traceback is ongoing to determine if other onions are linked to the outbreak.

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in Canada that is related by whole genome sequencing to the U.S. outbreak. On July 30, PHAC’s outbreak investigationexternal icon identified U.S. red onions as a likely source of its outbreak.

On August 1, 2020, Thomson International, Inc., voluntarily recalledexternal icon red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.

On August 1, Giant Eagle recalledexternal icon onions and foods made with recalled onions sold in stores across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Maryland.

On August 5, Publix recalledexternal icon onions sold in bulk at stores in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

On August 5, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) issued a public health alertexternal icon for products made with recalled onions. Check the alert for product details.

On August 5, 2020, Taylor Farms issued a recallexternal icon of foods that were made from recalled onions.

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, serve, or sell recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc., of Bakersfield, California, or other foods made with recalled onions.

CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

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