Source of onions linked to outbreak of Salmonella affecting British Columbia identified, says BCCDC

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VANCOUVER – The outbreak of Salmonella linked to red onions that has caused disease in Western Canada and the United States has been attributed to a specific U.S. grower, the BC Center for Disease Control said on Wednesday. The contaminated red onions causing the outbreak are from Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, Calif., The BCCDC said in a press release.

The company has recalled all varieties of onions that may have come in contact with potentially contaminated products, the BCCDC said, adding that British Columbians should not eat, use, sell or serve red, white, yellow onions. or the company’s sweet yolks, they should not eat any products made from these onions either.

Thomson International may not be the only source of contaminated onions, the BCCDC said, noting that health officials are still investigating.

“Other onions from the United States could be involved in this outbreak,” the center said in its statement.

Onions grown in Canada are not affected, but the BCCDC advises consumers not to eat onions if they do not know where the onions come from.

The outbreak has caused 69 cases of Salmonella in British Columbia since mid-June, and cases have been 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 typically last four to seven days, the BCCDC said.

Most people recover from Salmonella without treatment, but children under five, adults over 65, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to have serious illness, the center said.

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