Cronut burger stand shut as CNE probes illnesses
Cronut burger offered by Epic Burgers and Waffles at this year's CNE, seen Aug. 16, 2013. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)
Toronto Public Health is investigating and the food stand that serves up the headline-grabbing cronut burger remains voluntarily closed after 34 people claimed they got sick eating at the CNE.
Of those who seem to have swallowed more than they bargained for, 12 were treated by Toronto EMS paramedics at the Ex Tuesday night and five were taken to the hospital with food poisoning symptoms.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) officials can’t say that the cronut burger is the culprit. But many of those who did fall ill confirmed they ate a cronut burger — a beef patty, a slice of processed cheese, a bun of two cronuts (a cross between a donut and croissant) and a dollop of maple bacon jam on top.
Dr. Lisa Berger, associate medical officer at TPH, said health officials were investigating one food vendor — cronut burger maker Epic Burgers and Waffles.
Food samples taken from the eatery in the Food Building are due to come back from the lab within 72 hours. The food booth will remain voluntarily closed for the time being, health officials confirmed.
“At this point in our investigation we cannot confirm the food source,” Berger said Wednesday. “We are investigating the cronut burger, we are investigating various other food items there and we can’t confirm right now.”
Berger said by around noon Wednesday, 34 people had reported symptoms of foodborne illness related to the Ex.
TPH said the CNE had ordered Epic Burgers to close Tuesday night as reports came in from sick Ex visitors. According to the city’s DineSafe website, the restaurant passed a health inspection on Aug. 16.
“But I want to reiterate that that is only the very beginning of our investigation and we have no confirmation that that’s the premise where the persons got sick and we are continuing our investigation,” Berger said.
Restaurant staff were seen with health inspectors inside the closed food stand around 11 a.m. A worker cooked some food that an inspector tested with temperature gauges and health officials were seen gathering samples for lab testing.
A representative from Epic Burgers could not be reached from comment Wednesday. On the restaurant’s Twitter account Tuesday night, a tweet was posted bragging that the line was 100-people deep.
No one responded to media requests sent to Le Dolci — the Toronto bakery that provides the cronut-inspired part of the burger.
Mount Sinai Hospital spokesman Leslie O’Leary confirmed medical personnel treated some patients with gastrointestinal symptoms from the Ex.
“Several patients told us that they ate the cronut burger among other things at the CNE but we don’t know the cause of their illnesses,” O’Leary said.
CNE general manager David Bednar said the incident is a “significant concern” to the annual fair.
“None of this food should make you sick,” Bednar said. “Whatever we need to do make sure that this doesn’t happen again, we’re going to attempt to do that.
“The Exhibition is not some place to come and get sick — except of course if we make you sick by putting you on a ride. That’s a different story.”
— With files from Keaton Robbins