U.S. health officials have linked an ongoing multistate and multi-country Salmonella Newport outbreak to onions. The announcement came one day after Canadian health officials made a similar statement.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging consumers and industry not to eat, serve, or sell any onions from Bakersfield, CA-based Thomson International Inc. The onions types affected include red, white, yellow, and sweet varieties. The warning also includes products made with these onions.
As of July 31st, a total of 396 illnesses have been reported in 34 states.
Whole-genome sequencing analysis shows that an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in Canada is related genetically to this outbreak in the U.S. This means that people in both of these outbreaks likely share a common source of infection.
Thomson International’s website doesn’t appear to address the outbreak, however, here is the company’s general food safety statement in full:
Thomson International has built a network of representative and joint venture growers throughout Mexico and California. Expansion and success means never compromising on food safety and innovation.
Thomson International never takes food safety issues lightly.
The daily structure of our farming and packaging activities from the initial plantings to the truck loading focuses on absolute food safety guidelines. Across every Thomson family generation, we are proud to employ GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) to ensure sanitary harvest crews and packing equipment. A steady flow of trucks daily moves through Bakersfield on California I-5 to pick up orders delivered to most locations within 24 hours.
As owners and sales professionals, we can walk out and see the products being produced. When quality or safety issues surface, we can immediately incorporate solutions to ensure the quality of our on-site watermelon, onion and bell pepper packing plants.
Thomson International’s onions were recalled on August 1st, 11 days after CDC’s initial announcement of an outbreak caused by—at the time—an unknown source.