Onion recall expands across Canada; 17 hospitalizations linked to salmonella

Click to play video: 'Onion recall linked to salmonella outbreak expanded'
Onion recall linked to salmonella outbreak expanded
WATCH: A recall of red onions linked to at least 17 salmonella hospitalizations in Canada has been expanded to include yellow, white and sweet yellow onions. The onions were grown by Thomson International in Bakersfield, Calif – Aug 4, 2020

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Sunday expanded its recall of onions from the United States linked to 17 salmonella hospitalizations in Canada.

The department said the recall now includes red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions that are distributed by the company, Thomson International in California. It was initially only red onions.

Since the initial recall on July 30, there have been six additional reported illnesses of salmonella linked to the onions, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in a statement. The cases were in Saskatchewan and Quebec.

There are a total of 120 cases of salmonella in Canada linked to the onions, the agency said. The impacted provinces are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

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“Although the investigation has determined that red onions are the likely source of the outbreak, Thomson International Inc. has recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Onion varieties include red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions,” the statement read.

Click to play video: 'Foods pregnant women should eat and avoid'
Foods pregnant women should eat and avoid

The agency warned Canadians not to eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International, or any products made with these onions.

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 said.

There have been no reported deaths.

It’s possible that more cases will be reported as “there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks,” PHAC said.

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In the U.S., federal health officials said nearly 400 people in more than 30 states have reported salmonella linked to onions from Thomson International.

The federal agency said the illnesses began between mid-June and mid-July.

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.

— With files from Global News’ Leslie Young and the Associated Press

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