Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is known for its wacky “franken-foods” – enthusiasts come from far and wide to enjoy the latest deep-fried and fast food creations. But last year, things went too far when more than 200 fairgoers were sickened by contaminated cronut burgers. It was revealed that the distributors of the much-anticipated treat failed to follow basic food safety training protocols, which resulted in the growth of staphylococcus aureus, a well-known food borne offender. Toronto Public Health said the cause of the contamination was likely poor refrigeration. The burger was later voluntarily pulled off the menu of all vendors.
So this year, food safety officials are stepping up security at the fair ground. Here’s how they’ll be protecting adventurous eaters at the 2014 CNE:
Vendor Disclosure and In-Depth Inspection
Anyone selling food at the CNE will have to provide health inspectors with a complete list of menu items. On opening day, a team of 20 inspectors will conduct an in-depth appraisal of the CNE’s food building, with a particular emphasis on refrigeration. There will also be a small group of investigators working on the fairgrounds, on a daily basis. And new this year, health officials will be inspecting not only food prepared on CNE grounds, but also items that are transported from offsite locations. They’ll be examining those locations prior to food transport, ensuring there is no cross-contamination – one of the most common threats to food safety certification.
Mandatory On-Site Training Session
Adventurous foodies can rest assured that every vendor at the CNE must attend a food safety training session. The only way vendors can avoid the session is by providing proof that they’ve completed a food safety course in the past, and are in possession of a food safety certificate. Sessions run prior to opening day, from August 12-14.
This Year’s Franken-Foods
Although there is indeed greater scrutiny on this year’s CNE culinary offerings, tighter food safety measures have done nothing to damper the creative genius behind the latest creations – nor the appetites of courageous samplers. Just released, the 2014 lineup of franken-foods is more outrageous than ever. It includes:
- spicy peanut butter sriracha bites
- cocoa-infused chicken with chocolate ketchup
- grilled cheese bacon, banana and peanut butter sandwiches
- liquid-butter coffee
- thanksgiving waffles (stuffing, cranberries, turkey, mashed potato, green onions, and gravy!)
- liquid nitrogen popsicles
- chocolate bar croissant (a whole bar of your choice is baked right inside)
Initial previews of these delicacies are in, and the verdicts are overwhelmingly positive. If you don’t mind a little spice, a lot of sweet, and a liberal dosing of deep fry, this year’s CNE should be one for all foodies to remember.
Which treat will you try first?