Aug 06, 2020

By Jeremy Logan

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A food scientist says Canadians may have to seek out new sources of flavour as U.S.-grown onions are pulled from produce sections because of concerns about salmonella contamination.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says Thomson International is expanding its recall of red onions to also remove the yellow, white and sweet yellow varieties from the grocery aisle.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified the California-based grower’s red onions as the likely source of a salmonella outbreak with 120 confirmed cases in Canada.

A food science professor at University of Guelph says onions may be hard to come by at the supermarket for a couple of weeks out of an abundance of caution about potential contamination.

Keith Warriner says cooking kills salmonella in most cases, but there’s concern that the bacteria could be on the outside of the onion, and could potentially spread to other parts of the kitchen.

For Canadians unsure what to do with their onion supply, Warriner says the watchword in food safety is “if in doubt, throw it out.”

Warriner says it shouldn’t be too long until stores restock their shelves with onions grown outside of the U.S.

Until then, the one-time chef suggests using alternatives such as leek and garlic to add some zest to your recipes.

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