Health Authorities have provided an update regarding the ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to red onions imported from the US.
Illnesses continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada and as of September 14, the are 506 confirmed cases in Canada.
The case breakdown by province is as follows: BC (116), Alberta (292), Saskatchewan (34), Manitoba (25), Ontario (14), Quebec (24), and PEI (1)
Since August 31, there have been 49 additional illnesses reported in the ongoing Canadian investigation.
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Authorities are reminding Canadians to 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. Onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.
“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,” reads the statement.
More information on these recalls and the food safety investigation can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to a contaminated product and can include fever, chills, diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, and nausea.
Most people who become ill from an infection will fully recover in a few days, according to health officials, although individuals can be infectious for up to several weeks.
Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for serious illnesses related to Salmonella infections.
It is difficult to know if a product is contaminated with Salmonella because you can’t see, smell or taste it.
To lessen the risk of Salmonella, the following food safety tips are offered by public health officials:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh produce.
- Cut away any bruised or damaged areas on fresh produce, since harmful bacteria can thrive in these areas.
- Wash fresh produce thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them.
- Don’t soak fresh produce in a sink full of water.
- Use a clean produce brush to scrub items that have firm surfaces like cucumbers, oranges, melons, potatoes, carrots.
- Use one cutting board for produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
- Place peeled or cut fruits and vegetables on a separate clean plate.
- Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily.
- Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food.