Sysco recalls red onions in Canada because of Salmonella link; U.S. mum

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Editor’s note: After this story published the U.S. Food and Drug administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted outbreak updates naming Thomson International, a California company, as the source of implicated red onions. Read our coverage here.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, as of Thursday there have been 114 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to red onions. It could be related to a U.S. outbreak that has yet to be associated with any food.

As of this afternoon, neither the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had posted any updates for the U.S. outbreak or any information about the Canadian action.

On July 10, CDC’s  PulseNet database identified an outbreak of 13 Salmonella Newport infections in three states. Since being identified, the outbreak has rapidly grown to a total of 212 infections in 23 states. But, as of July 24, the FDA and CDC have not identified a specific food, grocery store, or restaurant as the source of the outbreak. As of this afternoon, the U.S. agencies had not updated their July 24 outbreak notices.

“Individuals became sick between mid-June and mid-July 2020. Information is available for 102 illnesses. Out of 102 people, 16 individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 3 and 100 years of age. The majority of cases (56%) are female,” according to Canadian health officials.

Individuals who became ill in Canada reported eating red onions at home, in menu items ordered at restaurants, and in residential care settings.

The Canadian government is warning all people to not consume any red or pink onions until the situation is further investigated.

The recalled onions are:

Brand Product Size Codes Additional information
IMPERIAL FRESH Red Onions – Jumbo 10 lb. Product code 8399925 All products imported since May 24, 2020
IMPERIAL FRESH Red Onions – Jumbo 25 lb. Product code 8313967 All products imported since May 24, 2020

Sysco Canada is a broad-line supplier that serves the various institutional, restaurant, and retail customers.

According to Canadian officials, individuals who became ill reported eating red  (pink) onions imported from the U.S., at home, in menu items ordered at restaurants, and in residential care settings.

“U.S. health officials have so far been silent as to the cause of the Salmonella Newport outbreak that as of July 23 had sickened a total of 212 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport in 23 states,” said Marler Clark LLP managing partner, Bill Marler. “Furthermore, no recall has been announced in the U.S., so food service can protect U.S. consumers. It is time for the FDA and CDC to confirm or deny Canada’s decision.”

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