Update (August 4): The red onion recall has since expanded to include specific brands of white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions imported from the U.S. For more details, see this article.
Original article (July 31):
A public health investigation has identified that red onions imported from the U.S. into Canada may be linked to an outbreak of illness in Western and Central Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provincial and federal health partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. health officials on an investigation into Salmonella infections in Canada and the U.S.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced today (July 31) that Sysco is recalling red onions that were imported from the U.S. due to potential Salmonella contamination.
The red onions were distributed in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario, and may have been purchased online from Sysco, at various restaurant locations, or at Sysco locations in Western Canada, including Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Regina.
The CFIA investigation is continuing on, including determining if there are any other importers.
The affected products include Imperial Fresh jumbo red onions sold in 10-pound (with product code 8399925) and 25-pound (with product code 8313967) amounts that have been imported since May 24.
As of July 30, there were 114 confirmed cases of illness in Canada reported since July 24. That includes 43 cases in B.C., 55 in Alberta, 13 in Manitoba, two in Ontario, and one in PEI (an individual who had travelled to Alberta). Individuals became ill between mid-June and mid-July.
No deaths have been reported.
Anyone who has these onions, or any other food items with these onions in them, should not serve, use, or eat them. They should be disposed of or returned to the place of purchase.
Anyone who is unsure if they have the red onions under recall should contact their place of purchase.
Even though affected red onions may not appear or smell spoiled, they can still cause illness.
Symptoms, which can last up to a week, can include fever, chills, headaches, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea while longterm complications can include severe arthritis. Young children (five years or younger), pregnant women, elderly individuals, and people with compromised immune systems may contract serious and potentially deadly infections.
A person infected with Salmonella can remain infectious for several days or weeks.
More information about Salmonellosis (Salmonella) can be found at the Health Canada website.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control had issued a public notification on July 30 about the outbreak and advised British Columbians not to consume red onions imported from the U.S.
Red onions grown in Canada are not affected by this recall.