Onion recall expands in Canada over salmonella concerns

In addition to red onions, the recall now includes yellow, sweet yellow and white onions imported from the U.S.

During a health investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella, a recall for red onions has expanded in Canada 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 due to potential Salmonella contamination.

On August 1, the CFIA announced that the onion recall expanded to encompass additional kinds.

In addition to red onions, the onion recall now includes yellow, sweet yellow and white onions grown by Thomson International Inc. (Bakersfield, California) and imported from the U.S., due to 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.

Companies involved in the onion recall 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. The onions 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.

Onion recall: What to do

Retailers, distributors, manufacturers and food-service establishments who have these onions – or any food products made with the onions – should not eat, serve, use or sell them.

Consumers should check for information on a label, sticker or packaging to confirm if 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 disposed of them or returned them to the place of purchase (wash hands after touching them as well as any surfaces they may have come into contact with). Anyone who is uncertain if they have a recalled product should ask the place of purchase. 

When purchasing onions at stores, if you cannot confirm that the onions are not part of the recall or where they are from, do not buy them. 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. 

Signs and symptoms

If you suspect food poisoning from a food establishment or any food-safety concerns at food stores or establishments, contact your local public health authority.

Although food contaminated with Salmonella may not appear or smell spoiled, it can still cause illness. Contact a doctor if you become sick from consuming these products.

Symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea while longterm 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. People 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 Saskatchewan and Quebec, raising the total number to 120 confirmed cases.

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.

This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight.


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