TORONTO - The cronut burger was the culprit behind a massive food poisoning outbreak at the Canadian National Exhibition this week, Toronto Public Health confirmed Friday.
Dr. David McKeown, the city's chief medical officer of health, blamed the burger for getting around 150 people ill at the Ex on Tuesday.
"The cronut burger is the only food that was common to the people that became ill and laboratory tests have identified the staphylococcus aureus toxin in samples of the cronut burger, so yes, we believe it is the source of the outbreak," McKeown told reporters.
The outbreak started with around a dozen people being treated by paramedics on site at the CNE Tuesday night -- five of those people had to be taken to hospital.
Of the 150 people who reported to public health that they got ill after eating food at the CNE, around 100 have already been interviewed.
"Based on the information from the ill individuals, the only common food exposure that they had was the cronut burger served by Epic Burgers," McKeown said.
"Staphylococcus aureus toxin is a recognized cause of food-borne illness. The staphylococcus bacteria produce a toxin which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea within two to four hours of ingestion."
The headline-grabbing hamburger featured includes two cronuts (a cross between a donut and a croissant), a beef patty, processed cheese and a maple bacon jam topping.
Now public health will be testing all the different parts of the burger to determine which part contained the bacteria.
Epic Burgers and Waffles -- the maker of the cronut burger -- will likely remain closed over the weekend, McKeown said. The eatery had remained voluntarily closed pending the results of the health investigation.
"Until the investigation determines the precise cause and source of the outbreak we will not allow Epic Burgers to reopen, we want to make sure that when the reopening occurs, the food is safe."
In a statement released Thursday, Epic Burgers stressed it takes health and safety "very seriously". The restaurant could not be reached for comment Friday night.
CNE general manager David Bednar said the health and safety of patrons is an ongoing concern.
"We've stopped this now, we're confident that it is over. Going on in the future, whatever additional or different precautions might be necessary, we're going to take them," he said.