Toronto Public Health has confirmed the cronut burgers were responsible for sickening 150 guests at the Canadian National Exhibition this week, announcing in a press conference today: "We believe it's the source of the outbreak." This number of reported incidents from August 16 - August 20 is up from 100 yesterday
According to a statement from Toronto Public Health, tests showed that samples of the cronut burger were contaminated by staphylococcus aureus toxin. The symptoms guests reported are in line with that finding. Toronto Public Health also confirmed that the cronut burger was "the only common food to all of those who became ill." Staphylococcus is reportedly not a common foodborne illness in Toronto, but it is well-known. Officials have not confirmed which component of the burger was tainted. Toronto Public Health is continuing to investigate.
The poisoning incident began when 12 attendees at the CNE Tuesday experienced gastrointestinal distress that sent five to the hospital. With the cronut burger getting the unofficial blame, Toronto Public Health stepped in to inspect. CNE shut down the cronut burger vendor Epic Burgers and Waffles and they have remained closed during the health inspections. It's important to note that Cronut mastermind Dominique Ansel has absolutely nothing to do with this poisonous copycat.
The besmirched cronut burger is a collaboration from Toronto's Le Dolci and Epic Burgers and Waffles. The dish combines a burger patty with maple bacon jam and processed cheese on a cronut bun. Despite the hype, one Toronto reporter found the idea of the burger "fairly disgusting." Turns out she was not far off. Below, the official statement from Toronto Public Health:
Toronto Public Health update on CNE food borne illness investigation
This week, Toronto Public Health (TPH) has 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 one premise on August 21, including collection of food samples for testing and interviews of individuals who were ill to determine their symptoms and what they ate.
As of 10 a.m. today, TPH has received over 150 reports from CNE visitors who experienced gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming food at the CNE from August 16 to August 20 and interviewed over 100 individuals. The only common food consumed by those who were ill is the "cronut burger" sold by EPIC Burgers.
"Early laboratory test results indicate that samples of the cronut burger were contaminated by staphylococcus aureus toxin which is a recognized cause of food borne illness," said Dr.David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health.
Symptoms of illness range from an upset stomach to more serious symptoms, including diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration. TPH is continuing its investigation to determine how the contamination occurred.
Prior to the opening of the CNE, food handler training was offered to over 1,600 food handlers. Since the CNE's opening weekend, TPH has inspected over 300 food premises. TPH continues to actively monitor and will work with vendors on food safety for the duration of the annual fair.