Cronut burger vendor closed over illnesses
TORONTO—Public health officials are testing food samples from a vendor at the Canadian National Exhibition after at least 34 people reported symptoms of food-borne illnesses.
Dr. Lisa Berger said Epic Burger and Waffles—known for its headline-making cronut burger—voluntarily will remain closed as a precaution while health officials continue their investigation.
“Samples of that food have been sent to the public health laboratory for sampling,” she added, noting it will take a few days to get the results.
Berger said a three-hour inspection of the cronut burger-maker was conducted yesterday after people reported vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps on Tuesday night.
Paramedics treated 12 people who had symptoms of gastrointestinal illnesses—five of whom were taken to hospital.
EMS officials haven’t been able to say if those treated had eaten food from the same vendors.
“To date, Toronto Public Health has received reports of 34 cases of persons who have reported symptoms of food-borne illness in relation to eating at the CNE,” Berger said.
Health officials are asking anyone who suffered a food-borne illness at the CNE to contact them, and noted that those who have reported illness ate at CNE between Aug. 16-20.
Berger also said there are a number of ways people become ill at the fair, such as “the hot weather we’ve had lately, dehydration, heat, food.”
Prior to the exhibition, more than 1,600 food handlers had been trained, she said, adding that on opening weekend, Toronto Public Health conducted more than 200 on-site food inspections.
She said the current investigation will look at all aspects of food handling and safety.
“We’re just in the very initial stages and we’ll go where the facts lead us,” she noted.
Berger added the number of people reporting illness “merits a complete investigation.”
Chris Botshka, who attended the exhibition yesterday with his daughter, said he doesn’t think the reports of a potential food-borne illness have caused too much concern.
“Everybody is buying and eating,” he remarked.
Botshka added he doesn’t understand the draw of the cronut burger, which combines a doughnut and croissant into a burger that is topped with maple bacon jam.
“It’s not something that appeals to me so it didn’t really bother me,” he reasoned.
But Toronto native Brooks Nesbitt said he arrived at the exhibition expecting to try the cronut burger.
“I heard on the radio that it was here, and I heard that it was very interesting and that it was the next new big thing,” he noted.
“I decided I’d come give it a shot, as well, and now I can’t.”
Toronto Public Health said it has yet to confirm the source of the reported illness.