The cronut burger is officially a public-health menace.
The laboratory test results are in, and Toronto Public Health is now saying that the cronut burger, a croissant/doughnut/hamburger hybrid sold by Epic Burgers and Waffles at the CNE, appears to have been the cause of about 150 reported cases of food-borne illness, up from 100 reported cases on Wednesday.
At a press conference this afternoon, Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s top public-health official, said that samples of the cronut burger had tested positive for a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. The bacteria, he explained, multiplies in food that hasn’t been handled properly and produces a toxin that can cause severe gastrointestinal upset. If that weren’t enough evidence, McKeown said that interviews with about 100 people who fell ill after eating at the CNE also indicated that the cronut burger was the problem. “The only common food exposure that they had was the cronut burger served by Epic Burger,” he said.
Prior to today, the cronut burger had been strongly suspected of being the source of the illness, but the City’s tests hadn’t yet confirmed that this was the case.
Epic Burgers and Waffles closed on Tuesday, and remained closed voluntarily pending the results of the City’s health investigation. McKeown suggested that the closure is now mandatory. “Until the investigation determines the precise cause and source of the outbreak, we will not allow Epic Burgers to reopen,” he said.
Toronto Public Health hasn’t yet determined what part of the cronut burger was playing host to Staphylococcus aureus, or what actions on the part of Epic Burgers and Waffles employees might have led to the bacteria finding its way into the food. At a press conference on Wednesday, CNE General Manager David Bednar said that the operator of Epic Burgers and Waffles also runs other food stalls at the Ex, none of which are suspected of spreading food poisoning.