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Onion recall expanded

A recall on onions imported from the United States has been updated and expanded by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

As of Aug. 2, there were 120 confirmed Canadian cases of salmonella-related illness associated with the produce, 43 of them in British Columbia, 56 in Alberta, four in Saskatchewan and 13 in Manitoba. No deaths from the outbreak have been reported and Canadian onions are safe to eat.

The CFIA said red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions grown by Thomson International based in Bakersfield, California, are now part of the recall.

“These products may also have been purchased on-line or through various restaurant locations. They may also have been sold in bulk or in smaller packages with or without a label,” the CFIA said in an Aug. 1 release.

The onions have been distributed across Western Canada as well as the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Ontario and Quebec.

Added to the recall announced last week are onions of seven different types and brands in mesh sacks, cartons and boxes that were imported from California since May 1.

They were sourced or distributed by 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 CFIA said its recall was initiated by an outbreak of foodborne illness that was followed by a recall by Thomson International Inc. in the United States.

The Public Health Agency of Canada on Aug. 2 said that although the source of the salmonella illnesses is known, other onions have been added to the recall out of caution.

“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 includes red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions,” the agency said.

“Given this new information, and until more is known about the outbreak, do not eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc., Bakersfield, California, USA, or any products made with these onions.

“This advice applies to all individuals across Canada, as well as retailers, distributors, manufacturers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes.”

People who are sick with salmonella usually recover with a few days but it can cause serious health damage in some individuals. Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting.

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