WATCH: Public Health officials say now almost 100 reported ill from CNE. Mark Carcasole reports.
TORONTO – Close to 100 people have now reported becoming sick after eating food at the CNE between August 16 and 20, and now the company that serves the Cronut has released a statement touting their “clean bill of health” and issue-free past.
“We buy our products from only the top suppliers and we’ve never had any issues in the past, nor do we wish to have any in the future,” the Epic Burger & Waffles statement said.
“We take health and safety very seriously. It’s very important to us that our food is not only enjoyed, but also trusted. Our customers, our staff and our families eat here daily.”
This comes a day after at least 34 people fell ill eating at the food court Tuesday night.
The statement adds that the company will wait for the results of the public health investigation before re-opening their restaurant.
“We have voluntarily closed and are co-operating fully with all parties involved.”
Initial reports indicated that 12 people became sick with vomiting and diarrhea but that number climbed to just under 100 late Wednesday night, according to health officials.
“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 in a statement.
Chris Parnell, a Cambridge man, went to the CNE on Tuesday. At lunch he thought it would be a good idea to try a Cronut burger. “It turned out to be not so good of an idea.”
“Within about an hour and a half, 2 hours after I had a cronut burger, I started feeling some sharp pains in my stomach, then I felt really nauseous. So i thought it was time to leave the park. Once we left the park, I got to my car and got violently ill in the parking lot.”
After 15 minutes, he started to drive home. He said he had to stop four to five times to be sick on the side of Highway 401 before pulling off to a Tim Hortons at Mavis Road. There, he passed out. His wife called an ambulance and eh was eventually taken to hospital.
The Epic Burger food outlet, home to the Cronut Burger, has since been shut down for inspection.
TPH officials have not yet pinpointed the exact source of the illness.
Food samples have been taken to a lab for testing and the results won’t be complete for another 48 to 72 hours. One of the first things public health officials will have to do is narrow down the types of bacteria that could cause this sickness by comparing variables, according to Dr. Michael Gardam, Director of infection prevention and control at the University Health Network.
“It sounds like people are getting sick quite quickly after eating and that does tend to narrow it a little bit,” he said in an interview Thursday. “So for example, there are some bacteria that produce toxins, that when you eat the toxin, it can make you sick within a couple of hours of actually eating something.”
Gardum said the bacteria could be Staphylococcus aureus or Clostridium perfringes.
“When you have such a short incubation period, it does tend to suggest certain pathogens. And there’s usually 2 or 3 that we think about,” Gardam said. “These are typically bacteria that produce toxins and it’s the toxins that’s making you sick not the bacteria.”
Clostridium perfringes is a food poisoning caused by eating contaminated food. The bacteria is found in soil, sewage or dust and contaminated foods typically need to have large numbers of this bacteria to cause an illness, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
When the bacteria reaches the intestines, they produce toxins – this is what causes victims to get sick, the government agency says.
Meanwhile, staphylococcus aureus can lead to skin infections, pneumonia or food poisoning, the National Institute of Health’s website says.
Health officials maintain the overall risk to the general public is low and fairgoers should not worry.
However, they are advising people who do get sick with symptoms such as fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps and dehydration, to immediately seek medical attention and notify Toronto Public Health by calling 311.
TPH say they completed inspections at 200 food establishments on opening weekend at the CNE – 17 of those had conditional passes and one received a ticket.
- With files from Mark Carcasole and Carmen Chai
© Shaw Media, 2013