Food Recall: Onions Have Been Linked to a Major Salmonella Outbreak

If you've bought recalled onions, you'll need to throw them away. Cooking them won't make them safe to eat.

August 10, 2020
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Photo by: FotografiaBasica/Getty Images

FotografiaBasica/Getty Images

There's been another major food recall reported in 43 states and Canada. This time the culprit is thought to be salmonella in onions. More than 640 cases and 85 hospitalizations have been reported due to salmonella found in red onions. The likely source is Thomson International, Inc of Bakersfield, California. On August 1, 2020, the company recalled all varieties of onions including red, yellow, white and sweet onions that could have come into contact with the potentially contaminated red onions in case there was cross-contamination.

Where Is the Recall?

These onions were shipped nationwide and to Canada between May 1 and August 1, 2020 and are sold under the following brand names: Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onion 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion. They were distributed in 5, 10, 25, 40 and 50 pound cartons, and 2, 3, 5, 10, 25 and 50 pounds mesh sacks.

Further, any products that contained the recalled onions are being recalled including Giant Eagle and Taylor Farms products, and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has a published list of ready-to-eat meals and poultry products that contain these recalled onions.

If you’re worried about eating shallots and garlic, don’t be. The list doesn’t include these two items.

What If You Bought a Recalled Onion?

The FDA recommends that you should not eat any of the recalled onions or recalled products made with these 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," according to the FDA. Cooking these onions won’t make them safe to eat. If you think you bought these onions, you should throw them out and clean and sanitize any surfaces or containers that may have come into contact with the recalled products including counter tops, refrigerator, storage bins, cutting boards and knives.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. More severe cases you may have a high fever, aches, headache, extreme fatigue, rash, blood in the stool or urine, and sometimes it is fatal. If you think you may have salmonella infection, contact your physician.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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