The reason of a widespread salmonella outbreak tied to onions, which has made at the very least 149 world in Alberta sick, stays a mystery, says Michael Gänzle, professor of food microbiology in ~ the college of Alberta.

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Onions offered in California have actually made at least 149 human being in Alberta sick. (FlowerPhotos/Universal pictures Group/Getty)

The reason of a widespread salmonella outbreak tied to onions, which has actually made at least 149 civilization in Alberta sick, continues to be a mystery, says Michael Gänzle, professor that food microbiology at the university of Alberta.

The Canadian Food Inspection company issued a recall of part red onions, imported native California, ~ above July 30. Due to the fact that then, the recall has actually been increased six times, to include yellow, white and also sweet onions, as well as salsas, salads and also sandwiches made v the onions. The onions have actually been linked to 239 confirmed cases of salmonella across Canada, through the greatest variety of cases in Alberta.

"It's really unusual," Gänzle told's Edmonton AM. "This is the an initial case connected to onions, that ns am conscious of."

Onions room a rare source of salmonella outbreaks, Gänzle said, because they thrive underground, space peeled before eating and are frequently cooked, which deserve to kill the bacteria that makes human being sick.

The investigation right into what resulted in the pollution is ongoing, yet Gänzle has some theories.

"I would guess that contaminated irrigation water would be the source," he told "Growing onions in California method you are irrigating a lot."

Contaminated watering water has been the source of other salmonella outbreaks in California produce, Gänzle said. However, plants like spinach are more commonly contaminated, frequently as a an outcome of cattle being also close come the fields and also contaminating irrigation water through feces.

Anyone who thinks they can still have the recalled onions lurking in your cold storage, or in ~ the ago of their fridge, have to toss them immediately. There is no means to phone call a good onion indigenous a negative one, just by looking. Washing the onions won't work, claimed Gänzle, because salmonella can have obtained on the onion beforehand in that growth and also it might have been growing there for part time.

When it concerns symptoms, "most of united state will eat it and also not gain ill," claimed Gänzle. However, civilization who space young, old, or have weak immune systems space at higher risk because that serious condition or also death.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and cramps. In rare cases, the bacteria can acquire into the blood, whereby it deserve to be fatal.

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The recall includes onions marketed under the brand surname Krown, Onions 52, tender Loving Care, Thomson International and also Thomson international Premium. 

A complete list the the recalled commodities is obtainable on the Canadian Food Inspection firm website.