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Salmonella Tainted Red Onions Spark New National Lawsuit

We Joined National Salmonella Lawyer Jory Lange to File a Lawsuit in Federal District Court in Montana on Behalf of Those Who Have Been Infected

A national salmonella outbreak caused by tainted red onions has affected nearly 400 people as of August 5th—and at least 52 of the reported cases originated in Montana. This is the largest salmonella outbreak of the year and an unwelcome surprise to ER staff who may already be dealing with increased patient load due to the novel coronavirus. Thankfully, no fatalities have been reported so far, but it’s entirely possible the bacterial infection has made it into many more households, some that may not be aware of the risk.

Salmonella is an unpleasant infection, and we’re hopeful the onion recalls and widespread discussion about the danger will help keep the outbreak relatively small. However, here’s what everyone should know, whether you’ve been infected or not.

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a serious bacterial infection of the intestines that can be fatal in young children, frail or elderly individuals, or those with compromised immune systems. The rest of us can expect to experience symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain/Cramps
  • Bloody Stools

Infection can result in dehydration and, in some cases, bacteremia (caused by bacteria reaching the bloodstream) that spreads the bacteria throughout a patient’s body.

Initial symptoms can last 2-7 days, though diarrhea may persist until 10 days and intestinal abnormalities may be evident for months. A rare, but possible, complication is reactive arthritis, or Reiter’s syndrome.

Salmonella is typically foodborne and does not spread person-to-person, but anyone who has the infection should not prepare food for others.

Why We Filed a Lawsuit

Salmonella symptoms can be serious enough that they cause patients to miss work or even require medical attention. Either consequence can have a financial impact, whether due to lost wages or unexpected hospital bills. Additionally, though they may not be long-lasting, salmonella infections can cause serious discomfort.

Anyone who was infected by a tainted onion has the right to compensation. Those who grow and sell food must be held to the highest standards to keep people safe. A recall after an outbreak has begun isn’t enough; the hundreds who are already infected have no recourse but through the law.

What We Know About the Outbreak So Far

According to the Great Falls Tribune, 16 Montana counties have seen confirmed cases so far: Beaverhead, Big Horn, Carbon, Cascade, Deer Lodge, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Hill, Jefferson, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Park, Ravalli, and Yellowstone. Of these, Cascade has the highest number of reported cases so far.

There are a lot of Montana counties that haven’t yet been affected, but don’t count on that to keep yourself safe. The contaminated onions could have reached stores anywhere in the state.

Throw Out Any Dangerous Onions

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is recommending anyone who bought an onion after May 1st be careful. The company that originally sold the onions, Thomson International, Inc., has posted a recall for all the red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions it shipped over the past 3 months. The onions may have been sold under brand names including:

  • El Competitor
  • Food Lion
  • Hartley’s Best
  • Majestic
  • Imperial Fresh
  • Kroger
  • Onions 52
  • Thomson International
  • Thomson Premium
  • TLC Thomson International
  • Tender Loving Care
  • Utah Onions

As DPHHS officials learn more about the scope of the salmonella infection, more brands may be added to this list.

Many shoppers do not know the brand of an onion as these vegetables often do not have stickers or other obvious labels. If you do not know where your onion is from, it’s recommended you throw it away.

You should also thoroughly wash and sanitize counters and other surfaces that could have come into contact with one of the contaminated onions or its packaging. Salmonella can be difficult to kill, so a thorough scrub is required. Clorox spray has been found among the most effective common cleaners against salmonella. However, soap and water do make a difference, so anyone has infected surfaces or foods should wash their hands fully afterward.

Call Us If You Were Recently Diagnosed with Salmonella

Though infection typically sets in within 24 hours, the time between ingesting contaminated food and showing symptoms can vary. If you’re not sure what dish might have caused your infection, our attorneys can help you review what you ate to find a culprit.

Anyone who was infected with salmonella after eating a contaminated onion is likely eligible to receive compensation. Reach out to us at no cost to see if you can join our litigation.

Call us today at (406) 233-1302 for a free consultation regarding salmonella exposure due to contaminated onions. Or, you can send us a message online and our team will reach out to you promptly.