Toronto Public Health has received nearly 100 complaints of possible food-borne illness after eating at the Canadian National Exhibition, officials said Thursday.
Dr. Lisa Berger, associate medical offer of health, said in a press release that the investigation is concentrated around one food premise at the CNE, but that “all possible sources of illness are being investigated.”
Toronto Public Health officials said they spent three hours Wednesday morning investigating EPIC Burgers and Waffles, the food vendor at the Canadian National Exhibition that sells the Cronut burger.
After being shut down as a precaution after people became ill, the vendor now voluntarily remains closed, and will continue to be until results are back to see whether the burger, or any food served it serves, caused the illnesses.
Samples of food from EPIC Burgers and Waffles have been sent to the public health laboratory to be investigated, and results aren’t expected until Thursday evening or Friday morning at the earliest.
The owner of EPIC Burgers and Waffles operates “a few other locations” at the CNE, general manager David Bednar said, but would not confirm which locations or whether they remain open.
“We’re talking about a reputable operator,” he said.
In a statement Thursday, EPIC Burgers and Waffles said that the company has a clean health record and that all of its staff has been trained in food safety.
"We take health and safety very seriously," the statement read. "It's very important to us that our food is not only enjoyed, but also trusted."
Toronto Public Health said they are collecting the names and contact information of people who have reported feeling ill.
Mr. Bednar expressed concerns for the individuals and families involved.
“The Exhibition place is not someplace to come and get sick,” he said. “Except of course, if we make you sick by putting you on a ride but that’s a different story. We don’t like this.”
According to Toronto Public Health, as of 9 p.m. Wednesday evening, officials had heard from nearly 100 people who said they were experiencing “gastrointestinal symptoms” after eating at the CNE. Of those, 12 were treated by paramedics, and five were sent to hospital, according to Toronto Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Kim McKinnon.
The spokesperson for EMS was also careful to point out the symptoms people experienced Tuesday were similar to those associated with dehydration.
Ms. McKinnon encouraged people to continue to enjoy the Ex. “It’s hot though so bring some water,” she said. “Keep hydrated, because even if you’re dehydrated, you can present with symptoms similar to the ones we saw last night.”
Toronto Public Health said they will provide updates as more information becomes available.
“We are asking people if you get signs of food borne illness which involve nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, to seek medical attention,” Dr. Berger said, adding that they should also report these symptoms, if they occurred after a visit to the CNE, to the city by calling 311.
The annual CNE fair opened its gates Aug. 16 and runs until Sept. 2.
With reports from Cynthia McQueen and Ann Hui