The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is advising consumers that Thomson International Inc. is recalling red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1, 2020 through the present. The onions are being recalled because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
Onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. The onions were distributed in 5 lbs. cartons, 10 lbs. cartons, 25 lbs. cartons, 40 lbs. cartons, 50 lbs. cartons, 2 lbs. mesh sacks, 3 lbs. mesh sacks, 5 lbs. mesh sacks, 10 lbs. mesh sacks, 25 lbs. mesh sacks, and 50 lbs. mesh sacks. They were sold under the 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.
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., you should not eat, sell, or serve it, and you should throw it out.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections that may be linked to these onions. As of now no specific source of contamination or contaminated shipment has been identified, and FDA is also investigating other potential sources of contamination and has not yet reached a final conclusion. 396 total illnesses have been reported to date including 59 hospitalizations. (There have been no cases identified in Rhode Island.)