Massive onion recall sparked by Salmonella outbreak

ProSource Produce LLC of Hailey, Idaho is recalling whole raw onions imported from Mexico due to potential Salmonella contamination.

The recall comes after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified ProSource as a source of onions linked to a large multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg illnesses that has sickened 652 people so far, sending 129 of them to hospital.

To date, no onions marketed through ProSource have tested positive for Salmonella, according to the company.

The Recall

The recall encompasses red, yellow, and white whole raw onions shipped to the United States from Chihuahua, Mexico, between July 1, 2021, and August 31, 2021, and includes the following brand names:

  • Big Bull
  • Peak Fresh Produce
  • Sierra Madre
  • Markon First Crop.
  • Markon Essentials
  • Rio Blue
  • ProSource
  • Rio Valley
  • Sysco Imperial

The onions were distributed to wholesalers, broadline foodservice customers, and retail stores in 50 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., 5 lb., 3 lb., and 2 lb. mesh sacks; and 50 lb., 40 lb., 25 lb., 10 lb., and 5 lb. cartons in:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnisota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Some of the recalled product also was shipped to Ontario and Québec, Canada.

The Outbreak

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first identified an outbreak of 20 confirmed cases of Salmonella Oranienburg illnesses on September 2, 2021. By September 15th, the date of CDC’s initial outbreak investigation announcement, the number of cases had risen to 127 people from twenty-five states.

On September 24th, the CDC reported having found the outbreak strain in a sample taken from a takeout condiment cup containing cilantro and lime. The outbreak victim who supplied the condiment cup reported that it also had contained onions, but none were left in the cup at the time of sampling.

As of October 18th, the CDC had amassed reports of 652 confirmed outbreak cases from 37 US states. Thirty-one percent (31%) of the outbreak victims required hospitalization.

Salmonella Oranienburg illnesses caused by the outbreak strain have been reported by the following states:

  • Alabama (3)
  • Arkansas (12)
  • California (9)
  • Colorado (1)
  • Connecticut (4)
  • Florida (5)
  • Georgia (2)
  • Illinois (37)
  • Indiana (1)
  • Iowa (3)
  • Kansas (14)
  • Kentucky (9)
  • Louisiana (5)
  • Maryland (48)
  • Massachusetts (12)
  • Michigan (9)
  • Minnesota (23)
  • Mississippi (2)
  • Missouri (21)
  • Nebraska (8)
  • New Jersey (5)
  • New Mexico (8)
  • New York (12)
  • North Carolina (14)
  • North Dakota (4)
  • Ohio (7)
  • Oklahoma (98)
  • Oregon (2)
  • Pennsylvania (7)
  • South Carolina (3)
  • South Dakota (8)
  • Tennessee (10)
  • Texas (158)
  • Utah (3)
  • Virginia (59)
  • West Virginia (1)
  • Wisconsin (25)

Déjà Vu

In the summer of 2020, the CDC and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) identifed a cross-border outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections that sickened more than 1100 people in 48 US states and 515 in seven Canadian provinces.

The source of the 2020 outbreak was traced to onions supplied by Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California. Although, the outbreak strain was never recovered from Thomson’s onions, the FDA found eleven different Salmonella serotypes from various environmental samples.

What You Need To Know

Illness subclusters investigated in this outbreak are currently associated with restaurants and food service locations.

The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products or firms are linked to illness.

The FDA is working to determine if these onions were available to consumers through grocery stores.

Meanwhile, the CDC advises businesses and individuals to take the following precautions:

  • Businesses should not sell or serve fresh whole red, white, or yellow onions that were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc.
  • Do not buy or eat any whole fresh red, white, or yellow onions if they were imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc.
  • Throw away any whole red, white, or yellow onions you have at home that do not have a sticker or packaging.
  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe Salmonella symptoms:
    • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
    • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
    • Signs of dehydration, such as:
      • Not peeing much
      • Dry mouth and throat
      • Feeling dizzy when standing up
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Recalls and Alerts: October 19-20, 2021

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United States

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION: CDC and FDA have determined that a major outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg illnesses is connected to whole, fresh onions imported from Mexico. To date, 652 people have become infected and 129 of them have needed hospitalization. Cases have been confirmed in 37 US states. FDA has identifed ProSource Inc. as a source of the potentially contaminated onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. ProSource Inc. has agreed to voluntarily recall red, yellow, and white onions imported from the State of Chihuahua, MX, with import dates from July 1, 2021 through August 27, 2021. Descriptions of these onion types include, but are not limited to, jumbo, colossal, medium, and sweet onions. Additional recall information will be made public as soon as it is available from ProSource Inc.

Allergy Alert: Demaiz Inc. recalls approximately 20,759 pounds of pork and beef tamales due to undeclared sesame seeds. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Ivar’s Soup and Sauce Company recalls Kettle Classic Clam Chowder With Uncured Bacon (2-24oz Sleeved Packs; Costco Item #1270666; Use by 12-22-2021; UPC 0 30383 19649 6) due to foreign matter (hard, sharp opaque plastic pieces) contamination.

Canada

Food Safety Recall: Aux saveurs des Sévelin recalls sauce carbonara / Carbonara sauce (1 L glass jars; Sold up to 19 October 2021) due to the absence of a mandatory “Keep Refrigerated” statement on the label.

Food Safety Recall: allSpices Food recalls allSpices Food brandSauce Ging-Hab (250 ml; Best Before July 2022; UPC 6 27987 39550 1) due to container integrity defects.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Finland): SOK recalls Amarillo Green Burrito (300g; Use by 21.10.2021) due to undeclared egg and milk.

Allergy Alert (Sweden): Axfood recalls Garant Dillmajonnäs / Dill mayonnaise (200 ml; Best before 2021-12-28) due to undeclared milk.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Aldi recalls Rôti d’épaule de cerf mariné / Marinated venison shoulder roast (500g; Lot #21281; Use by 24/10/2021 & 26/10/2021) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): La Fromagerie du Thouet recalls fromagerie du thouet fromage de chèvre au lait cru / raw milk goat cheese (Lot 07/10/21; Best before 05/12/2021) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): August Töpfer & Co. (GmbH & Co.) KG recalls zauberhaft Backen Haselnusskerne gehackt / magical baking chopped hazelnut kernels (Lot #L50357; Best before 11.06.2022) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Iceland): Lagsmaður ehf. recalls Mama brand Instant noodles with tom yum pork flavour (60g; Lot #1D4SD11; Best before 28-04-2022; Product of Thailand) due to foreign matter (broken glass) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): Sicily Food srl recalls Fish & Fine brand Salmone affumicato a fetta lunga / Smoked salmon, long sliced (200g; Lot #103936090712-25421; Best before 21/10/2021; Product of Serbia) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): Aldi recalls WILD VERMEERSCH BV brand Rôti d’épaule de cerf mariné / Marinated venison shoulder roast (500g; Lot #21281; Use by 24/10/2021 & 26/10/2021) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

Allergy Alert (Hong Kong): SUN SHUN FUK FOODS CO., LTD. recalls Sau Tao brand Thick Egg Noodles (454g; Best before December 1, 2022; Product of China) due to undeclared sulphur dioxide.

Allergy Alert (Israel): Bnei Riyad Mahrum Sweets Ltd. recalls Dreja Candy (330g; All expiration dates up to and including 03/10/22) due to undeclared almonds.

Allergy Alert (Israel): Alef Kissing Factory Ltd. recalls Jacobs brand Salty Cookies (350g; All expiration dates up to and including 17/01/2022) due to undeclared macadamia nuts.

Food Safety Recall (Israel): Aleutmani Salads recalls Tahini Salad (Use by 17.11.2021) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Australia and New Zealand

Allergy Alert (Australia): Fruit X Pty Ltd recalls Fruit X Berries Blueberry Chocs (150g; Use by 31-12-2022) due to undeclared macadamia nuts.

Allergy Alert (New Zealand): Sunson Asian Food Market recalls Malakongjian brand Hot Pot Sauce Spicy Flavour (320g; All batches; Product of China) due to undeclared gluten.

Sportmix Pet Food aflatoxin recall now international in scope – Updated January 26, 2021

Aflatoxin-contaminated pet foods may have been exported to as many as thirty-five (35) countries, according to an update on the Midwestern Pet Foods aflatoxin investigation released today by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Damage Done

The FDA is now aware of more than 110 dogs that died and more than 210 pets that became sick after having eaten a Sportmix pet food.

Although the vast majority of the case reports involve dogs, the FDA has received a couple of reports of sick cats, according to an agency spokesperson.

Not all of these cases have been officially confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning through laboratory testing or veterinary record review, according to the FDA.

Reports submitted only to the pet food manufacturer are not shared with FDA and are not a part of this count. 

The Recall

On January 11, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. expanded an earlier recall to encompass “all pet foods containing corn and manufactured in the company’s Oklahoma plant, and having an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022.”

The list of recalled products includes multiple lot numbers of the following items:

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%
  • Nunn Better Maintenance
  • Sportstrail 50
  • Sportmix Original Cat 15
  • Sportmix Original Cat 31
  • Sportmix Maintenance 44
  • Sportmix Maintenance 50
  • Sportmix High Protein 50
  • Sportmix Energy Plus 44
  • Sportmix Energy Plus 50
  • Sportmix Stamina 44
  • Sportmix Stamina 50
  • Sportmix Bite Size 40
  • Sportmix Bite Size 44
  • Sportmix High Energy 44
  • Sportmix High Energy 50
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy 16.5
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy 33

According to the recall notice, the affected products were distributed nationally to online distributors and retail stores nationwide. 

The FDA has since determined that one or more of the recalled products may have been exported to the following countries: Bahrain, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Polynesia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, Trinidad, Ukraine, UAE, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

The State of the States

Several state departments of agriculture are aiding the FDA in its response to the aflatoxin contamination by monitoring the effectiveness of the recall at the retail level and by testing samples of Midwestern’s products.

Several states, including Arkansas, Kansas and New Mexico and Washington, are in the process of analyzing multiple Midwestern Pet Foods samples for the presence of aflatoxin.

As of the end of last week, New Mexico had tested twelve samples, eleven of which were negative for aflatoxin. A sample of Sportmix Original Cat Food (Lot: EXP 04/29/22/05/L3/B167 14:21) contained 46 parts per billion (ppb) of aflatoxin, according to a Department of Agriculture spokesperson.

Kansas has completed testing on three samples, according to a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Two of the samples did not contain aflatoxin; however, a third sample contained, on average, ~80 ppb, which is approximately four times the FDA’s 20 ppb action level for aflatoxin in pet food.

What Pet Owners Should Do

If your pet has symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning, contact a veterinarian immediately. Even pets without symptoms may have suffered liver damage, so you may want to contact your veterinarian if your pet has eaten any of the recalled products. Provide a full diet history to your veterinarian. You may find it helpful to take a picture of the pet food label, including the lot number.

Don’t feed the recalled products to your pets or any other animal. Contact the company listed on the package for further instructions or throw the products away in a way that children, pets and wildlife cannot access them. Sanitize pet food bowls, scoops, and storage containers using bleach, rinsing well afterwards with water, and drying thoroughly.

There is no evidence to suggest that pet owners who handle products containing aflatoxin are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. However, pet owners should always wash their hands after handling any pet food.

You can report suspected illness to the FDA electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. It’s most helpful if you can work with your veterinarian to submit your pet’s medical records as part of your report. For an explanation of the information and level of detail that would be helpful to include in a complaint to the FDA, please see How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.

What Veterinarians Should Do

The FDA urges veterinarians treating aflatoxin poisoning to ask their clients for a diet history. We also welcome case reports, especially those confirmed through diagnostic testing. You can submit these reports electronically through the FDA Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. For an explanation of the information and level of detail that would be helpful to include in a complaint to the FDA, please see How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.

Lawsuits Filed

At least two class action suits already have been filed against Midwestern Pet Foods by pet owners, alleging their dogs were poisoned by the company’s products.