Major recall of red onions imported from the U.S. through Sysco

Salmonella scare hits home

Forty-three cases of salmonella have been reported in British Columbia since mid-June, and health officials have traced the outbreak to red onions imported from the United States. 

Thursday night, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency put out a notice advising of a recall of red onions imported through Sysco Food Service into Western Canada, including Kelowna.

Sysco is one of the major food suppliers to restaurants across Canada.

“Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below or foods containing these raw red onions,” the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a press release.

“Food service establishments, institutions, retailers, distributors and manufacturers should not serve, use, or sell the recalled products described below.”

The impacted products include 10 and 25 pound bags of jumbo red onions from the Imperial Fresh brand, that have been imported back to May 24.

The BC Centre for Disease Control says B.C. is currently one of five provinces experiencing an ongoing salmonella outbreak, and the recall also applies to Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The cause of the outbreaks have only just recently been identified. 

“Retailers and restaurants in these locations are also advised not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.,” the BC CDC says, adding that red onions grown in Canada are not impacted by the outbreak.

Salmonella infection can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that develop six to 72 hours after exposure and usually lasts four to seven days.

“Most people recover without treatment,” the BC CDC says. “Children under five years of age and adults over 65 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recalls are taking place at Sysco locations in Kelowna, Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Regina, but more importers may be affected in the future after further investigation.

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