Contaminated cronut burger cause of sickens 150 at Canadian National Exhibition

Posted on August 27, 2013 by

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Toronto Public Health (TPH) has recently been investigating an outbreak of food-borne illness among individuals who visited the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto.

TPH’s investigation included a thorough on-site inspection of Epic Burger and Waffles on August 21, including collection of food samples for testing and interviews of people who were ill to determine their symptoms and what they ate.

The laboratory test results from Friday, August 23 indicated that samples of the cronut burger were contaminated by Staphylococcus aureus toxin, which is a recognized cause of food borne illness. Additional lab results have now confirmed that the maple bacon jam topping on the burger contained this toxin and is the source of illnesses reported to TPH.

“New lab results indicate that the maple bacon jam, which is one component of the cronut burger, is the cause of food-borne illnesses at the CNE,” said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. “We have ensured the contaminated product is not served. There is no risk to the public.”

TPH’s investigation is focusing on the supplier of the bacon jam, Le Dolci, to determine how the contamination occurred. Le Dolci has voluntarily ceased production of this product. TPH will ensure that there will be no distribution of food products including the bacon jam from that establishment pending further investigation.

Epic Burger and Waffles will be allowed to reopen at the CNE today as long as they do not serve the maple bacon jam from this supplier and all food safety requirements are met.

“We would like to thank Toronto Public Health for their immediate and thorough response to this incident,” said David Bednar, General Manager of the Canadian National Exhibition. “We will continue to work collaboratively with TPH and our food safety consultants to ensure the ongoing safety of our visitors.”

As of 8 a.m. today, TPH has received 223 reports from CNE visitors who experienced gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming food at the CNE from August 16 to August 20. TPH has interviewed more than 150 people who reported ill, not all of whom reported eating a cronut burger. The only common food consumed by those who were ill is the cronut burger sold by Epic Burger and Waffles.

Symptoms of illness ranged from an upset stomach to more serious symptoms, including diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps and dehydration.

Since the opening weekend of the CNE, TPH has inspected more than 300 food premises. TPH will continue to actively monitor and work with vendors on food safety for the duration of the annual fair.

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According to CBCNews.com, the Bacteria in the cronut burgers sold by a Canadian National Exhibition food vendor caused roughly 150 people to become ill with food poisoning, according to Toronto Public Health.

The cronut burger, a beef patty between two doughnut-croissant pastries and topped with maple-bacon jam, had been the suspected source, but it was confirmed Friday afternoon.

“We do know from the vast majority of interviews we’ve done that people became ill directly after eating the cronut burger,” said Dr. Dave McKeown, who is with Toronto Public Health.

McKeown said 150 people have now reported getting ill, some within a few hours, after eating at the CNE, up from 100.

”We do know from the vast majority of interviews we’ve done that people became ill directly after eating the cronut burger.’
—Dr. Dave McKeown, Toronto Public HealthEpic Burgers and Waffles, the creator of the cronut burger, voluntarily closed after the initial outbreak of illnesses early this week.

The bacteria also doesn’t have a particular smell or taste so CNE visitors who ate a contaminated burger wouldn’t have known until the side-effects, which include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, were present.

CNE general manager David Bednar confirmed Epic Burgers would remain closed as the investigation continues.

“We have to let this investigation go full cycle,” he said. “We’ve stopped this now. We’re confident that it’s over, however, going on into the future, whatever additional or different precautions may be necessary we’re going to take them.”

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Posted in: Family safety