There’s a Major Recall on Onions Right Now Due to a Salmonella Outbreak in 34 States

updated Feb 24, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

There are certain foods that pop up over and over in the recall listings from the FDA: ground beef, melons, and lately a whole lot of lettuce. But the most recent recall is somewhat less common: onions. 

An outbreak traced to Thomson International Inc. has forced the company to recall all of its onions of all varieties, from every state, reports Food Safety News. The company’s onions have been identified as the cause of a widespread Salmonella Newport outbreak throughout North America.

More than 500 people in the U.S. and Canada, including 396 people in 34 states have reported getting sick and almost 60 needed hospitalization. Thomson supplies onions to a variety of stores and food service companies around the continent, so the recall hits at every level – restaurants, grocery stores, wholesalers, prepared foods, and places like nursing homes. The company, which is in Bakersfield, California, sells them under a variety of different brands, including Food Lion and Kroger’s house brands. The onions may be chopped up into salads or added to pre-made dishes like tacos.

Basically you should be really wary of any onion you see in food right now — the CDC and recall notice even specified, “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.” Costco customers have even reported getting automated phone calls asking them to return their onions, since the company has records of what each customer purchased and easy access to their member contact information.

If you do have the onions or any food with the onions in them, the CDC advises throwing them away immediately and washing and sanitizing any surface, utensil, or part of your refrigerator that might have come in contact with the onions.