Onions recalled in US and Canada due to Salmonella outbreak


Thomson International, Inc. (Bakersfield, CA) has initiated a recall of Red, Yellow, White, and Sweet Yellow Onions (shipped from May 1, 2020 through the present) after red onions supplied by the company were identified as the probable source of an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in the US and Canada.

Thomson has recalled the other varieties of onions as a precaution, as some of them may have come into contact with the red onions.

The recalled onions were supplied in 5 lbs. cartons, 10 lbs. carton, 25 lbs. carton, 40 lbs. cartons, 50 lbs. cartons, bulk, 2 lb. mesh sacks, 3 lb. mesh sacks, 5 lb. mesh sacks, 10 lb. mesh sacks, 25 lbs. mesh sacks, and 50 lbs. mesh sacks to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

The onions were sold under multiple brand names, including: Thomson  Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions and Food Lion.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced an industry-wide recall of red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions grown by Thomson International Inc. and imported into Canada on or after May 1, 2020.

The onions were sold in Canada under multiple brand names, including: El Competidor, Imperial Fresh, Onions 52, Tender Loving Care, Thomson International, Thomson International Premium and Thomson Premium. They are known to have been distributed in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Yukon, and may also have been shipped elsewhere in Canada.

Red onions grown and supplied by Thomson International are believed to be the source of an active outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections which has sickened 396 people in the United States and 120 people in seven Canadian provinces.

Authorities in both countries recommend that 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.

BREAKING NEWS – FDA Identifies Probable Source of Salmonella-contaminated Red Onions


FDA traceback investigations have identified Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, CA as a likely source of potentially contaminated red onions believed to be the source of a fulminating outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in the United States and Canada.

The outbreak which began in mid-June in both countries, has infected 114 individuals in 5 Canadian provinces and 396 people across 34 US states.

Fifty-nine people have been hospitalized in the USA and 16 in Canada.

Thomson International has advised FDA that the company will be recalling  all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, including red, white, yellow, and sweet onions.

The contaminated onions were distributed in Canada by Sysco, which has already issued a recall for its IMPERIAL FRESH – Jumbo red onions.

Consumers, retailers and food service establishments should avoid eating, selling or serving red, white, yellow or sweet onions from Thomson International.

BREAKING NEWS – Red Onions from USA Blamed for Cross-border Salmonella Outbreak


Red onions grown in the United States and imported into Canada are the source of an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections which has sickened 114 people in five Canadian provinces and more than 200 people in the United States.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the following provinces have reported illnesses associated with this outbreak: “British Columbia (43), Alberta (55), Manitoba (13), Ontario (2), and Prince Edward Island (1). The individual from Prince Edward Island reported travelling to Alberta before becoming ill. Saskatchewan has not reported any confirmed illnesses related to this outbreak, but provincial public health authorities are investigating some Salmonella Newport illnesses in the province.”

Sysco has recalled all IMPERIAL FRESH brand Red Onions – Jumbo (10-lb and 25-lb bags) imported into Canada from the United States since May 24th. The recalled onions were distributed in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises individuals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including any food products that contain raw red onions imported from U.S.. Retailers and restaurants in these locations are also advised not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.. Red onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

Although PHAC states that it has been exchanging information with the US, there has been no word yet today from CDC or FDA on these developments.

PHAC has offered the following guidance to consumers, retailers and the food service industry:

Individuals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario are advised to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including any food products that contain raw red onions imported from U.S..

Retailers and restaurants in these locations are also advised not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.. Red onions harvested in Canada are not affected by this advice. 

Individuals are asked to check their homes for red onions, including whole, sliced, or chopped, as well as prepared foods that contain red onions as an ingredient, such as premade salads, sandwiches, wraps, or dips. 

  • If you have red onions at home:
    • Look for a label showing where the red onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker. 
    • If the packaging or sticker shows that it is from the U.S., don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
    • If it isn’t labeled, don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
    • If you don’t know whether the red onion found in a premade salad, sandwich, wrap or dip contains red onion from the U.S., don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
    • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in areas (such as fridges and cupboards) where red onions were stored.
  • If you buy red onions at a store:
    • Look for a label showing where the red onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker.
    • If the packaging shows that it is from the U.S., don’t buy it.
    • If it is an unpackaged product, or is not labelled, ask the retailer whether the red onion comes from the U.S.
    • If you can’t confirm that the red onion in stores is not from the U.S., don’t buy it.
  • If you order salad or any other food item containing red onions at a restaurant or food establishment, ask the staff whether the red onions come from the U.S. If they did, or they don’t know, don’t eat it.
  • Restaurants and retailers should check the label on bags or boxes of red onions, or ask their suppliers about the source of their red onions.
  • Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain should not ship or sell red onions imported from the U.S.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a Salmonella infection or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not cook food for other people.
  • Contact your local public health authority to report any food safety concerns at restaurants or grocery stores, or if you suspect food poisoning from a restaurant or other food establishments.