Toronto Public Health has retrieved food samples from a vendor selling the much-promoted cronut burger at the Canadian National Exhibition, as it investigates a series of apparent food poisoning cases that have been reported overnight.
In an update to reporters on Wednesday, Jim Chan, a manager with Toronto Public Health, said outside the CNE Food Building: "I understand that we have at least 12 cases that we know of."
He noted the number could be higher if more complaints come in following the first reports of poisonings Tuesday.
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Chan said food inspectors do not yet have enough information to identify the specific food item or vendor at the source of the illnesses.
But he said inspectors are concentrating their efforts based on the number of reports relating to specific establishments.
Epic Burger, which makes the trendy hamburger with a croissant-doughnut mix for a bun, has been shut down temporarily.
"At this time, the CNE actually asked the restaurant not to operate until cleared by Toronto Public Health," Chan said.
Illnesses reported Tuesday night
At least a dozen patrons reported feeling ill and five of them were taken to hospital after eating at the annual Toronto fair Tuesday night.
Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were called to the CNE — the Ex — after people reported gastrointestinal problems, including stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
For most of those dozen cases, the symptoms were minor, but five people were taken to hospital with what has been described as a minor gastrointestinal illness. None of the cases is life-threatening.
EMS could not confirm what the patients ate or whether they had visited the same food vendors.
It appeared, however, that some felt ill after eating the cronut burger, topped with a maple bacon jam. Optional toppings include egg and extra bacon.
CBC News was contacted Wednesday by two people who claim they became ill after eating a cronut burger at the Ex.
One said his wife became sick after eating the cronut burger, as well as seafood chowder fries, ice cream waffles and a smoothie. He, however, did not fall ill after eating a cronut burger.
Another man told CBC he felt ill after eating a cronut burger and a slate of other high-fat snacks that included a Canuck burger, sweet potato fries, poutine and a Philly cheesesteak.
The CNE posted a statement on its website saying it is "very concerned about this situation and the people who have been affected by it."
Anyone who became ill after visiting the CNE on Tuesday is asked to call 311. The CNE can be contacted directly at 416-598-7285.
The Ex opened Friday and runs through Sept. 2. It typically draws more than one million visitors each year.
In recent years, the Ex has offered a number of unusual food items, including deep-fried butter.
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