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Throw it away and wash your hands. Salmonella outbreak in Canada growing, leaving close to 500 people sick and dozens hospitalized One individual has died, but it is not known if salmonella contributed to the cause of death



The Public Health Agency of Canada is pleading with Canadians to heed its advice as a salmonella outbreak in Canada is continuing to cause illnesses, hospitalizations and may have even resulted in at least one death.

The most recent update from the Agency reveals 78 additional illnesses being reported from the salmonella outbreak linked to red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California.

That brings the total Canadian case count to 457 as of Sept. 1, with 66 individuals being hospitalized. Eleven of the salmonella cases have been in Ontario.

One individual has died, but it is not known if Salmonella contributed to the cause of death, the Agency said, adding the majority of cases — 55 per cent — are female.

"Do not eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc., of Bakersfield, California, USA, or any products made with these onions," the new warning states. "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."

Individuals are asked to check their homes for red, white, yellow, and sweet varieties, including whole, sliced, or chopped onions, and any prepared foods that contain onions as an ingredient, such as premade salads, sandwiches, wraps, salsas, dips or guacamole.

If you have onions at home, the Agency said, look for a label showing where the onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker.

If the packaging or sticker shows that it is from Thomson International Inc., "don't eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands," the Agency says.

If it isn't labeled, don't eat it, and if you don't know whether the onion found in a premade salad, sandwich, wrap, salsa, dip or guacamole contains onions from Thomson International Inc., don't eat it, according to the Agency.

"Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with onions or their packaging, such as countertops, fridge drawers, pantry shelves, knives, and cutting boards," the warning states.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it is conducting a "food safety investigation" and has issued multiple food recall warnings for raw imported onions and certain products that contain or were made using these onions.

There is no evidence to suggest that onions grown in Canada are associated with this outbreak, the Public Health Agency said, adding "Onions imported from the United States are under investigation."