Markham restaurant at centre of mass poisoning to reopen today

Published Aug. 31, 2022 10:21 a.m. ET
Updated Aug. 31, 2022 12:57 p.m. ET

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A restaurant in Markham, Ont. at the centre of a mass poisoning that sent several people to hospital over the weekend is set to reopen on Wednesday.

Delight Restaurant & BBQ, located at Castlemore Avenue and Markham Road, made headlines earlier this week after 12 people who dined at the establishment became seriously ill, four of whom were admitted to intensive care.

Dr. Barry Pakes, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health, previously told CP24 he believed the patrons were poisoned by a spice contaminated with aconite – a plant-based toxin that can be deadly in small doses.

“From a public health perspective, now that we’ve identified what we think was the source of the toxin, which was a spice that was in a chicken dish, there isn’t any public health reason for it not to open,” Pakes said in an interview Wednesday.

“That said of course, we’ve got our investigators going in today just to make sure, from an infection prevention and control and general food safety perspective that the restaurant is exactly where it needs to be.”

York Region Public Health said testing is currently underway to confirm the source of the poisoning.

The restaurant was shuttered in the aftermath of the poisoning but Pakes said it could be reopened as early as the end of the day.

Delight Restaurant & BBQ has been co-operating throughout the investigation and Pakes said his team has located the Markham-area retailer where the spice product was purchased. The names of the retailer and the spice in question have not been released.

He added that the poisoning does not appear to be intentional and the incident wasn’t due to “something that the restaurant did wrong.”

The “good news,” according to Pakes, is those patients in the ICU do appear to be “getting better” following their admission to hospital. One of those patients has been released.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino's office told CTV News Toronto earlier this week that they were aware of the "concerning" situation in Markham.

Anyone who ate any food from the restaurant -- including dine-in, takeout, or delivery -- on Aug. 27 or Aug. 28, and is experiencing symptoms, is being encouraged to seek medical attention. 

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