Source of contaminated onions linked to Salmonella outbreak identified: BCCDC
The federal government is warning of an outbreak of salmonella that is linked to red onions imported from the U.S. (iStock)
VANCOUVER -- The Salmonella outbreak linked to red onions that has caused illness across Western Canada and in the United States has been traced to a specific U.S. producer, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control announced Wednesday.
The contaminated red onions that are causing the outbreak have been coming from Thomson International, Inc., of Bakersfield, Calif., the BCCDC said in a news release.
The company has recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated products, the BCCDC said, adding that British Columbians should not eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow or sweet yellow onions from the company, nor should they eat any products made with these onions.
Thomson International may not be the only source of the tainted onions, the BCCDC said, noting that health officials are still investigating.
"Other onions from the U.S. may be implicated in this outbreak," the centre said in its release.
Onions grown in Canada are not affected, but the BCCDC advises that consumers should not eat onions if they don't know where those onions were sourced.
The outbreak has caused 69 cases of Salmonella in B.C. since mid-June, with cases reported in all regional health authorities, according to the BCCDC.
Symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which develop between six hours and seven days after exposure and usually last four to seven days, the BCCDC said.
Most people recover from Salmonella without treatment, but children under age five, adults over 65 and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness, the centre said.