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Recall expanded for U.S. onions linked to salmonella outbreak

Health Canada said red onions are the likely source of a salmonella outbreak.
Various types of onions grown by a California company and sold across Canada have been linked to a salmonella outbreak. - 123RF Stock Photo

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says a recall warning issued Aug. 1 for various types of onions grown by a California company and sold across Canada and the United States has been expanded.

Red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions grown by Thomson International have been recalled because of possible salmonella contamination.

The agency said Friday the onions may have one of seven brand names - El Competidor, Imperial Fresh, Onions 52, Tender Loving Care, Thomson International, Thomson International Premium and Thomson Premium.

“Consumers should not consume the recalled products … or foods containing these raw onions,” the agency said in a release. “Retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals, and nursing homes should not serve, use or sell the recalled products.

“These products may also have been purchased online or through various restaurant locations. They may also have been sold in bulk or in smaller packages with or without a label.”

The agency said it will continue its investigation into other possible importers, and additional recalls may follow.

“Check to see if you have the recalled products in your home or establishment,” the release said. "Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the location where they were purchased. If you are unsure of the identity of the onions in your possession, check with your place of purchase.”

Food contaminated with salmonella might not look or smell spoiled but can still make people sick, the gency said.

Children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems can contract serious and sometimes deadly infections. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications can include severe arthritis.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said that as of Friday, 239 cases of salmonella illness have been linked to the onions across the country, including one case in Prince Edward Island. Twenty-nine people have been hospitalized, but there have been no deaths.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday a total of 640 people in 43 states have gotten ill from the onions. Eighty-five people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported.

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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