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Red onions from U.S. linked to salmonella outbreak, Canadian health authorities warn


July 31, 2020
By Canadian Pizza

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Ottawa – Canadians should throw away any red onions that may have come from the United States due to a risk of salmonella, the Public Health Agency of Canada warns.

Since July 24, there have been 55 additional illnesses in Canada reported in the ongoing investigation. Investigators have determined that red onions imported from the U.S. are a likely source of the outbreak.

Until more is known about the outbreak, individuals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario are advised to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including any food products that contain raw red onions imported from U.S.. Retailers and restaurants in these locations are also advised not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.. Red onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), and U.S. health officials to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections occurring in five provinces.

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In Canada, based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to red onions imported from the U.S. has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Many of the ill individuals under investigation reported having eaten red onions before getting sick.

Through a collaborative investigation between public health and food safety partners in Canada and the U.S., traceback information indicates that the contaminated red onions are being imported to Canada from the U.S. and distributed in central and western Canada. Red onions grown in Canada are not associated with this outbreak. More information is needed to determine the cause of contamination in red onions imported from the U.S.. The outbreak is ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported to the PHAC.

Given this new information, and until more is known about the outbreak, the Public Health Agency of Canada advises individuals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including any food products that contain raw red onions imported from U.S.. Retailers and restaurants in these locations are also advised not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.. Red onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

As the investigation is ongoing, it is possible that additional sources could be identified, and food recall warnings related to this outbreak may be issued. This public health notice will be updated as the investigation evolves.

Read the full statement, including symptoms and which products may contain raw red onions, from the Public Health Agency of Canada.