Toronto Public Health says close to 100 people are now reporting symptoms of food poisoning after eating at the Canadian National Exhibition, as a cronut burger stand at the annual fair remains closed while health officials investigate to determine if the trendy food played a role in the illnesses.
Thirty-four people initially reported symptoms of food-borne illness after eating at the annual fair on Tuesday. Paramedics treated 12 people and recommended that five be taken to hospital.
"Based on information to date, Toronto Public Health has concentrated our investigation around one food premise located at the CNE, however, all possible sources of illness are being investigated," said Dr. Lisa Berger, associate medical officer of health. "Overall risk to the general public is low."
Some of those who became sick told health officials they had eaten at Epic Burgers and Waffles, the vendor that makes the trendy cronut hamburger, which features a croissant-doughnut mix for a bun.
The food outlet, which was subject to a three-hour inspection Wednesday morning, was closed by the CNE, not Toronto Public Health, as a precaution, although health officials have yet to confirm the source of the illnesses.
The result of Toronto Public Health tests on food samples from the Epic Burgers and Waffles stand won’t be available until Friday at the earliest.
Health expert suspects toxin in food
Based on news reports of patients' symptoms, Tim Sly, a professor at Ryerson University’s school of occupational and public health, said he suspects the illnesses were caused by a toxin in the food due to the short time between when it was eaten and when patients reported feeling sick.
“With short onset times, you're looking at something that may have grown in the food and survived the cooking,” he said in an interview Thursday on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.