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Cronut burger's maple bacon jam cause of CNE illness

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The Canadian Press

Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 4:28 PM -

Toronto Public Health has identified the cronut burger's maple bacon jam as the cause of food poisoning at the Canadian National Exhibition. The supplier of the jam, Le Dolci, has voluntarily ceased production of the topping.

The maple bacon jam topping on the cronut burger at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition is the ingredient that led to more than 79 cases of foodborne illness, Toronto's public health agency said Tuesday.

"We were able to clear the cheese, the meat patty, the lettuce and the bun and identify the jam," said Dr. Lisa Berger of Toronto Public Health. "Now we are looking at the individual components of the jam, there are separate food samples being sent to the public health lab and we are awaiting those results."

The likely cause of contamination of the jam, which is made up of bacon, maple syrup, water and brown sugar, was likely poor refrigeration, she said.

"There were temperature control issues both at the supplier and on site," said Berger. "The staphylococcus aureus toxin is not killed by cooking," said Berger. "Refrigeration prevents the bacteria from multiplying."

The investigation concluded that the jam was contaminated by the staphylococcus aureus toxin — a recognized cause of foodborne illness. Possible symptoms include upset stomach, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, stomach cramps and dehydration.

Epic Burgers and Waffles, the vendor at the centre of the controversy, said they will reopen, but the menu will no longer include the cronut burger — a cheeseburger with a hybrid croissant-donut bun. The public health investigation is focusing on Le Dolci, the Toronto-based supplier of the maple bacon jam, to determine how the contamination occurred.

Officials said Le Dolci has voluntarily ceased production of the jam and there is no risk to the public. Symptoms of foodborne illness were first reported Aug. 20 when paramedics treated 12 people at the fair, sending five of them to hospital.

Toronto Public Health said Epic Burgers and Waffles, which has remained closed since Aug. 21, will be allowed to reopen at the fair as long as it does not serve the maple bacon jam from that supplier and all food safety requirements are met.

"We have ensured the contaminated product is not served," Toronto Public Health said in a release.

Epic Burgers and Waffles released a statement on their Facebook page Tuesday saying that the jam in question was only used on the cronut burger. They also stated that they would no longer be doing business with Le Dolci.

"With the green-light to reopen given to us by the city's health unit, we look forward to serving the public for the remainder of the CNE and well into the future," read the statement.

The CNE draws to a close Monday, September 2. Weather Network meteorologist Doug Gillham weighs in on the long weekend forecast.

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