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Anyone can become sick. More than 500 illnesses and 71 hospitalizations reported as Salmonella outbreak in Canada grows Canadian health officials warning residents



The Public Health Agency of Canada has a stern message for Canadians who have onions at home as a serious salmonella outbreak continues to grow.

"Look for a label showing where the onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker," states the latest update from the Agency. "If the packaging or sticker shows that it is from Thomson International Inc., don't eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands. If it isn't labeled, don't eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands."

This warning comes as 'illnesses continue to be reported' in the country.

The most recent update from the Agency reveals 49 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 506 as of Sept. 14, with 71 individuals being hospitalized. Fourteen of the salmonella cases have been in Ontario.

Two people have died, but Salmonella did not contribute to the cause of death for either individual, the Agency said.

Individuals who became ill are between 1 and 100 years of age and the majority of cases (54%) are female, the Agency said.

"Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but children aged 5 years and under, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious illness," according to the alert.

The Agency is telling Canadians to "take note" of what's happening due to the severity of salmonella poisoning.

"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."