Red onion recall expands to include more onions due to potential salmonella contamination

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      Update (August 7): The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced that specific red and jumbo yellow onions imported into B.C. from the U.S. have been added to the recall. For more information, see this article.  

      Original article (August 4):

      During a health investigation into an outbreak of salmonella infections in Canada, a recall of red onions has expanded to include other types of onions.

      On July 31, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that Sysco was recalling Imperial Fresh jumbo red onions because of potential salmonella contamination.

      On August 1, the CFIA announced that the recall had expanded to encompass additional onions.

      In addition to red onions, the recall now includes yellow, sweet yellow, and white onions grown by Thomson International Inc. (Bakersfield, California) and imported from the U.S., because of the risk of cross-contamination with salmonella.

      The onions have been sold in British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the Northwest Territories, and possibly nationally.

      Involved companies include Botsis Fruits and Vegetables Inc., Fresh Forward Inc., Freshpoint Canada Inc., Fruiticana Produce Ltd., Krown Produce Inc., Persia Foods Products Inc., Seoul Trading Corp., Sewa Enterprises Ltd., and Sysco Canada Inc.

      The affected brands include:

      • El Competidor
      • Imperial Fresh
      • Onions 52
      • Tender Loving Care
      • Thomson International
      • Thomson International Premium
      • Thomson Premium

      These products may have been bought online or at various food-establishment locations, and may have been sold in bulk or in smaller packages with or without a label. They may not have the same brand and product names as listed.

      They may have been sold in mesh sacks, cartons, or boxes.

      UPC numbers are not specified, but the recall includes all products imported since May 1.

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      What to do

      Anyone (including retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and food-service establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, and hospitals) who has these onions—or any food product made with them—should not eat, serve, use, or sell them.

      Anyone with onions should check for information on a label, sticker, or packaging to determine whether they are part of the recall. Any onions without this information should be disposed of. (Wash hands after touching them.)

      Anyone who does have these products should dispose of them or returne them to the place of purchase. (Wash hands after touching them, as well as any surface they may have come into contact with.) Anyone who is uncertain if they have a recalled product should ask the place of purchase. 

      Do not purchase onions at stores if you cannot confirm that they are not part of the recall or determine where they are from. If you are served onions at a food establishment, ask where the onions are from. If staff cannot confirm where they are from, do not eat them. 

      Anyone who suspects food poisoning from a food establishment or any food-safety concerns at food stores or establishments should contact their local public-health authority.

      Although food contaminated with salmonella may not appear or smell spoiled, it can still cause illness. Anyone who becomes sick from consuming these products should contact a doctor.

      Symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, and long-term complications may include severe arthritis. Young children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with compromised immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections.

      A person infected with salmonella can remain infectious for several days or weeks. Anyone diagnosed with salmonella should not cook food for other people.

      More information about Salmonellosis (salmonella) can be found at the Health Canada website.

      As of August 2, the CFIA stated that six additional illnesses were reported, including in Saskatchewan and Quebec, raising the total number to 120 confirmed cases.

      So far, there have been 43 cases in B.C.

      The Public Health Agency of Canada is continuing its investigation with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration into an outbreak of salmonella in Canada.

      Meanwhile, the U.S. CDC is also investigating a salmonella Newport outbreak with a similar genetic fingerprint.

      Onions grown in Canada are not affected by this recall.

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