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  1. FDA In Brief

FDA In Brief: FDA Advises Consumers to Avoid Red Onions from California Supplier, Investigation Continues to Find Source


July 31, 2020

Media Inquiries Peter Cassell, 240-402-6537

Consumer Inquiries: 888-723-3366

The following quote is attributed to Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response: 

“The FDA has been working with CDC, state, local and international partners on a rapidly developing investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections likely linked to red onions. 

“Canadian health officials have been investigating a similar outbreak in that country and have announced that they had determined red onions from the U.S. to be the potential source of the Canadian outbreak. 

“Building on this information, and on epidemiologic information in the U.S. outbreak from CDC, the FDA’s traceback investigation was able to identify Thomson International Inc. as a likely source of contaminated red onions in the U.S.

“Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve red, white, yellow, or sweet onions from Thomson International and if you cannot tell if your onion is from Thomson International Inc., or your food product contains these onions, you should not eat, sell, or serve it, and should throw it out.   

“We will provide updates as we learn more during our continuing traceback investigation, especially if there are any updates to this critical public health advice.”

Additional Information:

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections. 
  • The FDA’s traceback investigation is ongoing but has identified Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California, as a likely source of potentially contaminated red onions. Although the investigation has determined that red onions are the likely source of this outbreak, Thomson International Inc. has notified the FDA that it will be recalling all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. 
  • This recall would include red, white, yellow, and sweet onions from Thomson International Inc. Recall information will be made public as soon as it is available from Thomson International Inc. 
  • The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness. 

Additional Resources:

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The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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