The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is recalling red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions imported from American company Thomson International Inc due to possible salmonella contamination.
On August 1, the inspection agency updated its recall warning for the onions, which were distributed in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon.
The recall applies to those distributed after May 1.
The onions are sold in varying quantities in mesh sacks, cartons, and boxes under a number of brand names. Those include El Competidor, Imperial Fresh, Onions 52, Tender Loving Care, Thomson International, Thomson International Premium, and Thomson Premium.
Onions grown in Canada are not affected by the recall.
The inspection agency’s warning follows a recall advisory from Thomson International Inc, based in Bakersfield, California. The company initially issued a recall only for its red onions but later expanded that to all varieties, due to the risk of cross-contamination.
The inspection agency says recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the location where they were purchased. Any surfaces these onions came into contact with should be disinfected.
People are advised not to consume the onions or any foods containing these raw onions. Retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and food service establishments should not serve, use, or sell the recalled onions.
Anyone who thinks they may have become sick from eating the recalled onions should contact a healthcare professional.
The recall notes that food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick.
Young children, pregnant people, elderly people, and anyone with a weakened immune system can contract serious and sometimes fatal infections from salmonella.
Healthy people can experience short-term symptoms including fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. These symptoms usually last for four to seven days, but people who are infected with salmonella bacteria can be infectious for several days to weeks.
In rare cases, salmonella can lead to severe illnesses like arterial infections, endocarditis (infection of the lining of the heart chamber), and arthritis.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there have been 120 confirmed cases of illness since July 30 in Canada linked to the recalled onions, including 17 hospitalizations. In the United States, 396 total illnesses have been reported, including 59 hospitalizations.