Public Health Notice: Outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to red onions imported from the United States

September 14, 2020 – Update

The outbreak investigation is ongoing as illnesses continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Since August 31, there have been 49 additional illnesses reported in the ongoing Canadian investigation. There are now 506 confirmed cases in Canada. A second individual has died, but health officials have confirmed that Salmonella did not contribute to the cause of death.

There is no evidence to suggest that onions grown in Canada are associated with this outbreak. Onions imported from the United States are under investigation.

Do 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. 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.

If you are not sure where a red, yellow, white, or sweet yellow onion was grown, do not eat it. This notice contains more advice on how to avoid getting sick.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings for related products that came to Canada. Some of these products were possibly distributed nationally. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

On this page

Why should you take note

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections occurring in seven provinces.

In Canada, based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to red onions imported from the USA has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Many of the ill individuals under investigation reported having eaten red onions before getting sick.

Through a collaborative investigation between public health and food safety partners in Canada and the U.S., traceback information has identified that the contaminated red onions are coming from Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California, USA.

The CFIA has issued food recall warnings for related products that came to Canada. Some of these products were possibly distributed nationally. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information is needed to determine the cause of contamination in red onions imported from Thomson International Inc. The outbreak is ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported to the PHAC.

Given this information, and until more is known about the outbreak, do not eat, use, sell or serve any red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions grown by Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California, USA, or any products made with these onions. 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.

Onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

As the investigation is ongoing, it is possible that additional sources could be identified, and additional food recall warnings related to this outbreak may be issued. This public health notice will be updated as the investigation evolves.

Investigation summary

As of September 14, 2020, there have been 506 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (116), Alberta (292), Saskatchewan (34), Manitoba (25), Ontario (14), Quebec (24) and Prince Edward Island (1).

Individuals became sick between mid-June and mid-August 2020. Seventy-one individuals have been hospitalized. Two people have died, but Salmonella did not contribute to the cause of death for either individual. Individuals who became ill are between 1 and 100 years of age. The majority of cases (54%) are female.

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

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation and has issued related food recall warnings. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

The U.S. CDC is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the red onions.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks.

Who is most at risk

Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but children aged 5 years and under, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious illness.

Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

What should you do to protect your health

Do 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. 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.

Advice to consumers

Individuals are asked to check their homes for red, white, yellow, and sweet varieties, including whole, sliced, or chopped onions, and any prepared foods that contain onions as an ingredient, such as premade salads, sandwiches, wraps, salsas, dips or guacamole.

Advice to restaurants, retailers, suppliers and distributors

Symptoms

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal, person or contaminated product.

Symptoms include:

These symptoms usually last for 4 to 7 days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment, but sometimes antibiotics may be required. In some cases, severe illness may occur and hospitalization may be required. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care provider if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.

What is the Government of Canada doing

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health of Canadians from enteric disease outbreaks. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada leads the human health investigation into an outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal, provincial and territorial partners to monitor the situation and to collaborate on steps to address an outbreak.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine whether the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Epidemiological information

Figure 1 is an epidemiological curve for this outbreak, which shows the numbers of new cases by week. Outbreak investigators use this information to show when illnesses begin, when they peak and when they trail off. It can take several weeks from the time a person becomes ill to when the illness is reported and testing confirms a link to the outbreak. Data are available for 497 cases.

Figure 1: Number of people infected with Salmonella Newport

Figure 1: Number of people infected with Salmonella Newport
Figure 1 - Text Description
Table 1 – Number of people confirmed to be infected with Salmonella Newport by week of illness onset or specimen collection
Week of symptom onset or specimen collection Number of cases
2020-06-14 4
2020-06-21 12
2020-06-28 53
2020-07-05 128
2020-07-12 145
2020-07-19 88
2020-07-26 38
2020-08-02 20
2020-08-09 6
2020-08-16 3

Additional information

Media contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

Investigation history

Public Health Notice Update: August 31, 2020

The outbreak investigation is ongoing as illnesses continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Since August 21, there have been 78 additional illnesses reported in the ongoing Canadian investigation. There are now 457 confirmed cases in Canada. One individual has died, but it is not known if Salmonella contributed to the cause of death.

There is no evidence to suggest that onions grown in Canada are associated with this outbreak. Onions imported from the United States are under investigation.

Do 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. 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.

If you are not sure where a red, yellow, white, or sweet yellow onion was grown, do not eat it. This notice contains more advice on how to avoid getting sick.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings for related products that came to Canada. Some of these products were possibly distributed nationally. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

Investigation summary

As of August 31, 2020, there have been 457 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (107), Alberta (257), Saskatchewan (33), Manitoba (25), Ontario (11), Quebec (23) and Prince Edward Island (1).

Individuals became sick between mid-June and early August 2020. Sixty-six individuals have been hospitalized. One individual has died, but it is not known if Salmonella contributed to the cause of death. Individuals who became ill are between 1 and 100 years of age. The majority of cases (55%) are female.

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

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation and has issued related food recall warnings. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

The U.S. CDC is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the red onions.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks.

Public Health Notice Update: August 21, 2020

There is no evidence to suggest that onions grown in Canada are associated with this outbreak. Onions imported from the United States are under investigation.

Do 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. 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.

If you are not sure where a red, yellow, white, or sweet yellow onion was grown, do not eat it. This notice contains more advice on how to avoid getting sick.

The outbreak investigation is ongoing as illnesses continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Since August 14, there have been 40 additional illnesses reported in the ongoing Canadian investigation. There are now 379 confirmed cases in Canada.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings for related products that came to Canada. Some of these products were possibly distributed nationally. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA's website.

Investigation summary

As of August 21, 2020, there have been 379 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (100), Alberta (207), Saskatchewan (26), Manitoba (24), Ontario (8), Quebec (13) and Prince Edward Island (1).

Individuals became sick between mid-June and late July 2020. Fifty-nine 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 (54%) are female.

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

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation and has issued related food recall warnings. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA's website.

The U.S. CDC is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the red onions.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks.

Public Health Notice Update: August 14, 2020

There is no evidence to suggest that onions grown in Canada are associated with this outbreak. Onions imported from the United States are under investigation. Do 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. 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.

If you are not sure where a red, yellow, white, or sweet yellow onion was grown, do not eat it. This notice contains more advice on how to avoid getting sick.

The outbreak investigation is ongoing as illnesses continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Since August 7, there have been 100 additional illnesses reported in the ongoing Canadian investigation. There are now 339 confirmed cases in Canada.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings for related products that came to Canada. Some of these products were possibly distributed nationally. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

Investigation summary

As of August 14, 2020, there have been 339 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (78), Alberta (208), Saskatchewan (19), Manitoba (19), Ontario (8), Quebec (6) and Prince Edward Island (1).

Individuals became sick between mid-June and late July 2020. Forty-eight 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 (54%) are female.

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

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation and has issued related food recall warnings. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

The U.S. CDC is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the red onions.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks.

Public Health Notice Update: August 7, 2020

There is no evidence to suggest that onions grown in Canada are associated with this outbreak. Onions imported from the United States are under investigation.

Do 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. 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.

If you are not sure where a red, yellow, white, or sweet yellow onion was grown, do not eat it. This notice contains more advice on how to avoid getting sick.

The outbreak investigation is ongoing as illnesses continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Since August 2, there have been 119 additional illnesses reported in the ongoing Canadian investigation. There are now 239 confirmed cases in Canada.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings for related products that came to Canada. Some of these products were possibly distributed nationally. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

Investigation summary

As of August 14, 2020, there have been 339 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (78), Alberta (208), Saskatchewan (19), Manitoba (19), Ontario (8), Quebec (6) and Prince Edward Island (1).

Individuals became sick between mid-June and late July 2020. Forty-eight 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 (54%) are female.

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

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation and has issued related food recall warnings. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

The U.S. CDC is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the red onions.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks.

Public Health Notice Update: August 2, 2020

Since July 30, there have been six additional illnesses reported in the ongoing Canadian investigation, including illnesses in Saskatchewan and Québec. There are now 120 confirmed cases in Canada. Investigators have determined that potentially contaminated red onions are coming from Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California, United States of America (USA).

Although the investigation has determined that red onions are the likely source of the outbreak, Thomson International Inc. has recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Onion varieties includes red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings for related products that came to Canada. Some of these products were possibly distributed nationally. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

Given this new information, and until more is known about the outbreak, do not eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc., Bakersfield, California, USA, or any products made with these onions. 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.

Onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

Investigation summary

As of August 14, 2020, there have been 339 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (78), Alberta (208), Saskatchewan (19), Manitoba (19), Ontario (8), Quebec (6) and Prince Edward Island (1).

Individuals became sick between mid-June and late July 2020. Forty-eight 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 (54%) are female.

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

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation and has issued related food recall warnings. Additional food recall warnings in Canada are possible. More information on recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

The U.S. CDC is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the red onions.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks.

Public Health Notice Update: July 30, 2020

Since July 24, there have been 55 additional illnesses in Canada reported in the ongoing investigation. Investigators have determined that red onions imported from the United States (U.S.) are a likely source of the outbreak.

Until more is known about the outbreak, individuals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario are advised to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including any food products that contain raw red onions imported from U.S.. Retailers and restaurants in these locations are also advised not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.. Red onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

Why should you take note

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), and U.S. health officials to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections occurring in five provinces.
In Canada, based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to red onions imported from the U.S. has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Many of the ill individuals under investigation reported having eaten red onions before getting sick.

Through a collaborative investigation between public health and food safety partners in Canada and the U.S., traceback information indicates that the contaminated red onions are being imported to Canada from the U.S. and distributed in central and western Canada. Red onions grown in Canada are not associated with this outbreak. More information is needed to determine the cause of contamination in red onions imported from the U.S.. The outbreak is ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported to the PHAC.

Given this new information, and until more is known about the outbreak, the Public Health Agency of Canada advises individuals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including any food products that contain raw red onions imported from U.S.. Retailers and restaurants in these locations are also advised not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.. Red onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

Investigation summary

As of July 30, 2020, there have been 114 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (43), Alberta (55), Manitoba (13), Ontario (2), and Prince Edward Island (1). The individual from Prince Edward Island reported travelling to Alberta before becoming ill. Saskatchewan has not reported any confirmed illnesses related to this outbreak, but provincial public health authorities are investigating some Salmonella Newport illnesses in the province.
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.

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

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation. If contaminated food products are identified, CFIA will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the product as required.

The U.S. CDC is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the red onions.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks.

What should you do to protect your health

Individuals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario are advised to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including any food products that contain raw red onions imported from U.S..
Retailers and restaurants in these locations are also advised not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.. Red onions harvested in Canada are not affected by this advice.

Individuals are asked to check their homes for red onions, including whole, sliced, or chopped, as well as prepared foods that contain red onions as an ingredient, such as premade salads, sandwiches, wraps, or dips.

  • If you have red onions at home:
    • Look for a label showing where the red onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker.
    • If the packaging or sticker shows that it is from the U.S., don't eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
    • If it isn't labeled, don't eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
    • If you don't know whether the red onion found in a premade salad, sandwich, wrap or dip contains red onion from the U.S., don't eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
    • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in areas (such as fridges and cupboards) where red onions were stored.
  • If you buy red onions at a store:
    • Look for a label showing where the red onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker.
    • If the packaging shows that it is from the U.S., don't buy it.
    • If it is an unpackaged product, or is not labelled, ask the retailer whether the red onion comes from the U.S.
    • If you can't confirm that the red onion in stores is not from the U.S., don't buy it.
  • If you order salad or any other food item containing red onions at a restaurant or food establishment, ask the staff whether the red onions come from the U.S. If they did, or they don’t know, don’t eat it.
  • Restaurants and retailers should check the label on bags or boxes of red onions, or ask their suppliers about the source of their red onions.
  • Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain should not ship or sell red onions imported from the U.S.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a Salmonella infection or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not cook food for other people.
  • Contact your local public health authority to report any food safety concerns at restaurants or grocery stores, or if you suspect food poisoning from a restaurant or other food establishments.
Public Health Notice: July 24, 2020

Why should you take note

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections occurring in five provinces.

At this time, the source of the outbreak has not been identified, but health and food safety partners are investigating what is making people sick. The outbreak is ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Salmonella bacteria are found naturally in the intestines of animals, reptiles and birds. The bacteria are most-often transmitted to people when they eat contaminated foods. Contaminated foods often come from animal sources, such as poultry, beef, milk or eggs, but can also include fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

In an effort to prevent further illnesses, Canadians are advised to wash their hands frequently and use safe food handling practices to prevent Salmonella infections.

This public health notice will be updated as the investigation evolves.

Investigation summary

As of July 24, 2020, there have been 59 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (23), Alberta (31), Manitoba (3), Ontario (1), and Prince Edward Island (1). Individuals became sick between mid-June and mid-July 2020. Information is available for 28 illnesses. Out of 28 people, six individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 11 and 77 years of age. The majority of cases (54%) are female.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. are collaborating to exchange information to identify the source of the outbreak.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks.

What should you do to protect your health

It is difficult to know whether a product is contaminated with Salmonella because you can't see, smell or taste it. To help prevent Salmonella infections, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends following safe food handling tips. The following tips may help reduce your risk of getting sick, but they may not fully eliminate the risk of illness.

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and fresh produce.
  • Cook food to a safe internal temperature that has been checked using a digital thermometer.
  • Always read and follow cooking instructions on the package of any food items.
  • Keep raw food away from other food while shopping, storing, repackaging, cooking and serving food.
  • Wash fresh produce thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them. This helps prevent the spread of any bacteria that may be present.
  • Never rinse raw meat before using it because the bacteria can spread everywhere the water splashes, creating more of a safety hazard.
  • Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (following the directions on the container) or a bleach solution (5 mL household bleach to 750 mL of water), and rinse with water.
  • Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria, and avoid using sponges as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
  • 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 or in a container to prevent them from becoming cross-contaminated.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a Salmonella infection or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not cook food for other people.

Contact your local public health authority to report any food safety concerns at restaurants or grocery stores, or if you suspect food poisoning from a restaurant or other food establishments.

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