GUELPH POLITICAST #372 – When Lunch Attacks

There are about 1,700 food-based businesses across the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph region, and they all get regularly inspected, but sometimes accidents happen, just like it did last month at a luncheon for International Women’s Day at an Orangeville hotel and conference centre. We’ve made it through the COVID-19 health emergency, but what happens when the health crisis is something we ate?

On March 8th, Family Transition Place in Orangeville held their annual International Women’s Day Celebration Luncheon, and for the first time in three years it was in-person. The venue was the Best Western Plus Orangeville Inn & Suites, the number of guests was in the neighbourhood of 244, and at some point during the event, people started getting sick.

By 2:30 that afternoon, the reports started coming in. People were sick with various symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and nausea and the likely source was something they ate at the luncheon, food prepared by an outside caterer used by the hotel. In all, 88 people said that they experienced symptoms, and eventually the culprit was identified as Bacillus cereus. It was on the quinoa and sweet potato in the chicken bowl, but how did Public Health put it all together?

Paul Medeiros, who is a Manager of Environmental Health at Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, will walk us step-by-step through the investigative process, from the reporting, to the investigation, to the testing, and the conclusions. We will talk about the ways that Public Health prepares for these crises, whether there’s more general awareness about public health in these now post-pandemic times, and how new food-based businesses are making the job of food inspectors harder. Plus, what happens next time?

So let’s talk about investigating a lunch gone bad on this week’s Guelph Politicast!

You can check out Medeiros’ report in the May Board of Health meeting package at the Public Health website, or you can see Guelph Politico’s coverage of the meeting for the relevant links. Mangez!, Guelph Politico’s dine safe guide, still gets published at the first and 16th of every month, but if you just can’t wait, can see all the latest inspection results here.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple, StitcherGoogle, TuneIn and Spotify .

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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