READ MORE: Canadians could see onion shortage due to expanded recall, expert says
Here’s what we know about the recall so far.
What’s the latest on the onion booster?
On Wednesday, the CFIA expanded its recall to include Krown Produce’s, a western Canadian supplier of fruits and vegetables. The agency said the supplier’s red and yellow onions are grown by Thomson International and could be contaminated with salmonella.
The onions may have been sold online or at various restaurants, the CFIA warned. They could also have been sold in bulk or in smaller packages with or without a label.
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The agency said the onions may have been distributed in Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Saskatchewan.
For a detailed list of the latest recalls, click here.
When did the recall start?
Wednesday’s recall is one of several warnings issued by the CFIA regarding onions.
The initial recall began on July 30, but only involved red onions linked to Thomson International.
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On August 1, the CFIA expanded its recall to include the red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions distributed by the California company.
The following week, the government expanded its recall to include these brands:
On August 7, the CFIA again expanded the recall to include Thomson International’s onion products, such as salsa, chicken quesadillas, Greek pasta salad and sandwiches. For a full list of products, click here.
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How many Canadians have fallen ill?
As of August 7, there had been 239 confirmed cases in Canada of salmonellosis linked to this outbreak, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
Cases have occurred across the country, but most notably in the west: British Columbia (67), Alberta (149), Saskatchewan (5), Manitoba (13), Ontario (3), Quebec (1) and Prince Edward Island (1).
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PHAC said people fell ill between mid-June and the end of July 2020. Although 29 people were hospitalized, no deaths were reported.
People who became ill reported eating onions at home, in meals ordered in restaurants and in residential care facilities.
Should I eat onions?
Canadians should avoid eating raw onions from the United States, says Keith Warriner, professor of food science at the University of Guelph.
And if you’re not sure where a red, yellow, white, or sweet onion was grown, don’t eat it, he added.
What if the onions are cooked?
Cooking an onion will kill the salmonella bacteria, Warriner said. The real risk is that the bacteria are on the outside of the onion, which could spread to kitchen surfaces and other ingredients when chopped, he added.
How about eating an onion at a restaurant?
If you’re ordering a salad or other food with onions in a restaurant, ask staff if they know if the onions are from Thomson International, the CFIA told Global News.
If staff don’t know, don’t eat it, the CFIA said.
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Similar cases in the United States?
In the United States, 640 people in 43 states have so far been infected with salmonella, according to the CDC. No deaths were reported, but 85 people were hospitalized.
The diseases began to be reported around June 19, the CDC added.
Who is most at risk for salmonella?
Anyone can get sick with salmonella, but children aged five and under, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing serious illness, according to PHAC.
Most people who get the infection make a full recovery after a few days, according to PHAC, adding that some people may be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or have no symptoms, while still being in able to do so. spread the infection to others.
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Symptoms may include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
Frequent hand washing, especially after handling meat and raw products, as well as cooking foods at appropriate temperatures can help limit the risk of infection.
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