Cronut food poisoning spurs investigation at national exhibition
Tuesday, Aug 27th 2013
The Canadian National Exhibition featured numerous trendy food vendors, however, 233 event attendees caught a foodborne illness from only one source. An ingredient in a popular cronut burger was contaminated, forcing the CNE to shut down the restaurant while an investigation ensued to identify the source.
The croissant-doughnut-cheeseburger offering from Epic Burgers and Waffles was a major hit at the exhibition, however, it also caused foodborne illness symptoms within two to four hours of ingestion. The maple bacon jam was contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus toxin, inciting a range of problems including fever, vomiting and dehydration according to CBC News. The topping was from an outside vendor, and the restaurant has taken action to remove the food from the menu completely.
"It has happened in other outbreaks where the bacteria grow, they produce the toxin and then you cook the food, which kills the bacteria, but it doesn't kill the toxin," Toronto's medical officer of health Dr. David McKeown told the Toronto Star.
The vendor and event management have worked together to make health and safety a top priority. Over one million visitors typically attend the exhibition and event organizers brought the vendor back due to popular demand, according to Examiner.com. After the source of the contamination was narrowed down, the restaurant was allowed to reopen for guests at the event and the eatery's officials have subsequently assured the public of their efforts to ensure the safety of the products.
Foodborne illness in restaurants
Health inspections are routine for eating establishments, however, the real trick comes in when properly preparing the meal. Occasionally, meat may not be cooked all the way, failing to kill off all of the harmful bacteria. Other times, the source may be tested and be declared as useable. In most cases, whatever made someone sick is either from the food itself or the person handling the product, UMass Memorial Medical Center Dr. Jennifer Daly told GoLocalWorcester. Using proper temperature monitoring in restaurants to oversee the food will help ensure that the product is in the appropriate environment before it is given to the customer.
"It can be very difficult to pinpoint 'food poisoning', especially with simply gastrointestinal symptoms," Daly said. "People often want to point the finger to the last meal they had, which oftentimes might not be the case. And you can't implicate a restaurant on simply one case, or without proof -- again, it needs to be something that can be confirmed by a study or detected by a lab."
Using a temperature sensor can also help to ensure that food is maintained at the proper temperature. Most food has to be in certain conditions in order to not spoil. Using a sensor and monitoring system, restaurant employees can have an easier time reporting on temperature fluctuations and will be better-informed to make decisions.
While the outbreak at the CNE was a case of typical food poisoning, implementing safety procedures can help organizations ensure that their products are viable for public consumption. Cooking meat thoroughly and keeping perishable items at the correct temperature will slow down product degeneration, guaranteeing the food's shelf-life.