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Toronto Public Health Still Can’t Say Whether the CNE’s Cronut Burger Made People Sick

Epic Burgers and Waffles remains closed while investigators try to determine the source of food-borne illness contracted by CNE visitors.

The cronut burger sold by Epic Burgers and Waffles.

The cronut burger, sold by Epic Burgers and Waffles at the Canadian National Exhibition, is an unholy union of bad-for-you foods: it’s a croissant/donut hybrid on the outside and a grilled beef patty on the inside—and it has maple-flavoured “bacon jam” drizzled on top. If that won’t fully satisfy, there are also the optional bacon strips and fried egg.

This morning, when news broke that the mutant sandwich may have made at least a dozen fairgoers sick, it seemed like a fittingly tragic fate for a food item with so much hubris. It was as though the cronut burger had flown too close to the sun and melted its wings of processed American cheese.

Except now, a day later, Toronto Public Health maintains that it still can’t say with certainty whether the cronut burger was the source of the sickness.

At a press conference this afternoon, Toronto Public Health’s Lisa Berger said that although her organization has received 34 separate reports of people coming down with gastrointestinal symptoms after visiting the Ex, its investigation hasn’t yet revealed a specific culprit.

“I want to reiterate that this is only the very beginning of our investigation, and we have no confirmation that [Epic Burgers and Waffles] is the premise [sic] where people got sick,” she told reporters. But she added that Epic Burgers and Waffles is currently the only CNE food vendor under investigation.

The food stand—which in addition to the cronut burger also sells donut burgers and burgers with two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns—was closed down by the CNE on Tuesday as a precaution, and remains closed, Berger said, voluntarily, while the City waits for the outcome of some tests.

Samples of food from the booth have been sent to a lab for analysis. Berger said she was expecting results within 48 to 72 hours.

Five people were reportedly sent for hospital examinations after becoming ill at the Ex, and several media outlets have spoken with people who claim to have become ill after eating the cronut burger. (It should be noted, though, that some of our contributors ate one, found it to be fairly tasty, and were fine afterwards.)

CNE General Manager David Bednar, who was also present at the press conference, defended the Ex’s food-safety practices in general, and Epic Burgers’ in particular. “We’re talking about a reputable operator,” he said of the burger stand. “This is an operator who has cooperated fully with Toronto Public Health. This is an operator we’ve worked with in the past.”

Berger stressed that Toronto Public Health doesn’t think the CNE poses any significant risk to the general public. She wouldn’t say how long she expects the investigation to take.

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