September 27, 2020

CDC Updates Salmonella Newport Red Onion Outbreak: 869 Sick

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the Salmonella Newport red onion outbreak that has now sickened at least 869 people in 47 states. One hundred sixteen people are hospitalized because they are so sick. That is an additional 229 ill persons since the last update on August 7, 2020, including 9 from 4 new states: Arkansas, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Texas.

CDC Updates Salmonella Newport Red Onion Outbreak: 869 Sick

The patient case count by state is: Alaska (15), Alabama (1), Arizona (35), Arkansas (2), California (115), Colorado (25), Connecticut (2), Delaware (2), Florida (5), Georgia (6), Hawaii (3), Idaho (34), Illinois (49), Indiana (3), Iowa (23), Kansas  (2), Kentucky (1), Maine (5), Maryland (7), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (44), Minnesota (18), Mississippi (4), Missouri (10), Montana (63), Nebraska (10), Nevada (11), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), New York (10), North Carolina (5), North Dakota (9), Ohio (11), Oregon (94), Pennsylvania (15), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (20), Tennessee (5), Texas (2), Utah (105), Virginia  (10), Washington (50), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (10), and Wyoming (17). The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 102 years. Of 468 patients who gave information to public health officials, 116 are hospitalized.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that Thomson International onions are a likely source of this Salmonella Newport red onion outbreak. Because of the way onions are grown and harvested, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions have also been recalled. Thomson International red onions were recalled on August 1, 2020, and there have been many more brand names and products made with those onions recalled since.

Because onions have a long shelf life, it’s possible that recalled onions are still in consumers’ homes. Check your pantry for recalled onions. If you can’t tell if the onions you have in your home are recalled, throw them away. And if you used onions to make other recipes, don’t eat that food and discard it, even if some was eaten and no one got sick.

In interviews, patients answered questions about the foods they ate before they got sick. Eighty-eight percent of patients said they ate onions or foods made with onions. Most , or 68%, ate white onions, while 66% ate red onions and 49% ate yellow onions. Most patients ate more than one type of onion the week before they got sick.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many patients sickened with Salmonella in lawsuits, said, “No one should get sick just because they bought onions. Companies have to do better to ensure that the foods they produce and sell are free from pathogens that make people sick.”

The recalled onions were sold in all 50 states. Some of the brand names include Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartleys Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion. These onions and products made with those onions were sold at Giant Eagle, Kroger, Publix, Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Smith’s, Spokane Produce, and Walmart.

After you discard the onions and foods made with them, wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have touched the onions or their packaging, including refrigerator drawers, shelves, countertops, storage bins, knives, and cutting boards.

Twenty-eight illness clusters have been identified in 10 states in this outbreak. Information from those clusters shows that 21 restaurants and grocery stores served or sold red, yellow, or white onions. That’s how Thomson International onions were identified.

Symptoms of a Salmonella food poisoning infection include a fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, and diarrhea that may be bloody. These symptoms usually start 6 hours to 6 days after exposure. Most people recover within about a week without medical care, but some, especially those who have a chronic illness, are very young, are elderly, and pregnant women, may get sick enough to need hospitalization. If you have been ill and have eaten onions, see your doctor. You may be part of this Salmonella Newport red onion outbreak.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Salmonella infection after eating recalled onions or products made with them, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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