Red onions from the U.S. could contain salmonella, health officials warn

Click to play video: 'Salmonella outbreak in the U.S. and Canada may be linked to red onions' Salmonella outbreak in the U.S. and Canada may be linked to red onions
WATCH ABOVE: Salmonella outbreak in the U.S. and Canada may be linked to red onions – Jul 31, 2020

Canadians should throw away any red onions that may have come from the U.S. due to a risk of salmonella, the Public Health Agency of Canada warned Friday.

The onions are likely linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illness, affecting 114 people in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and P.E.I. The person from P.E.I. had travelled to Alberta, and it’s thought he or she caught the illness there.

Read more: U.S.-linked salmonella outbreak leads to 59 cases across 5 provinces

PHAC is advising people in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario to throw away red onions that came from the U.S. and food products that may have been made with these onions, and is asking restaurants to do the same.

If you check the sticker on your onion, or label on a bag, and it’s not clear whether it came from the U.S., you should throw it out anyway, PHAC says. The same goes for food containing red onions. If you’re not sure where they came from, get rid of the food. You should also clean your fridge drawers, shelves and any surface that came into contact with the onions.

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Six people have been hospitalized in Canada as a result of this outbreak, according to a press release. The agency expects that more illnesses will be reported, as it takes time between when a person falls ill and reports their illness to authorities.

Similar illnesses have been reported in the U.S. and American officials are working with Canada to identify the source of the outbreak. Across the U.S., 212 people have fallen ill so far, according to the CDC.

Read more: Why finding the source of a foodborne illness outbreak isn’t easy

Salmonella symptoms typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria, and can include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. These usually last between four and seven days.

Most people recover without treatment, but in some cases antibiotics may be required. Children aged five years and under, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious illness.

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