the cne and eating at it.

It’s not often that I write about something directly related to the city that I live in. In fact, it’s been awhile since I wrote a post about a news story that was only Toronto-based. This is a treat. Many of you who read this blog will have already heard about this, based on the fact that you are Torontonians, and for those of you who have not, let me shed some light on it:

Many, many people have been reported ill after eating at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE).

Now, if you don’t know what the CNE is, it’s a two-week long carnival-type event filled with rides, shopping, events, concerts, and a boatload of people. There is also an entire building devoted to food. It is called the Food Building. In there you will find everything from burritos to Beavertails to chicken wings. You will find deep fried butter, deep fried Mars bars, deep fried Coca-Cola, and deep fried everything else that you can deep fry.

This year, the Cronut Burger was unveiled as the “star food attraction” of the year (winners of this in years past: deep fried butter and, in simpler times, the foot-long corn dog). It is a burger with a cronut as a bun topped with maple-bacon jam. It also has some processed cheese, as you do. You can also add bacon and egg to it because GO BIG OR GO HOME, RIGHT?! People were lining up to get this burger. Lining up in the hundreds. This thing was huge.

And then reports of illness and food poisoning started coming in and there was one common denominator between them all: Epic Burgers, the maker of the Cronut Burger.

Now, I’m not here to diminish food poisoning in any way. I’m not here to say that these reports are false or that they have no merit. There’s a reason we have health inspectors, there’s a reason they shut the vendor down yesterday. Here is what I have a problem with: today I see on my Twitter feed that “Toronto Public Health has received nearly 100 reports from people who experienced gastrointestinal symptoms after eating at the CNE.” (taken from CP24)

Okay, guys, let’s talk about this. Let’s seriously talk about this. Who hasn’t left the CNE at some point in their lives with gastrointestinal symptoms? When one of the main attractions to the entire event is the Food Building, you know what you’re getting into. I’m not going to go run to Public Health because I had a tummy ache after eating all the things I could get on a stick. I’m just not because I know what I went in for.

When there is a serious problem like there clearly was at Epic Burgers, given the amount of people that fell ill after eating there, I understand shutting it down. I understand that chain of command. But are all these people seriously victims of the Cronut Burger, or did you just have one too many $1 bowls of spaghetti?

You take a chance when you go to the CNE. You take a chance that the rides were put together properly (and let me tell you, that death trap of a swing thing that me and my best friend went on a couple years ago did not feel so stable, but what can one do when you’re already in the air?), that the animals at the farm exhibit are well-taken care of, and that the food you’re ingesting is safe. And you take a chance with your own body’s inner workings when you consume high-fat, high-cholesterol, processed food that has hardly any semblance of real ingredients to it.

Your body probably won’t like it.

I’m not preaching about eating the terrible food, either, trust me on this one: I know just as well as anyone else in this city that you do not, I repeat do not, go to the CNE with intentions to diet. You go with intentions to lose at a carnival game and leave with a belly that’s been distended by caramel apples, cotton candy, and that thing that’s been battered and fried that tasted something like caramel. We just can’t all be running to the bandwagon when we feel sick after, either.

Do me a favour: if you got legitimately sick after eating at the CNE, report it. If you felt uncomfortable and you needed to pop some TUMs, maybe just wait it out a little.

That deep-fried butter will getcha.

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