Health officials alert public to spice in Markham food poisoning investigation

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Health officials alert public to spice in Markham food poisoning investigation's Profile


MARKHAM, Ont. — York Region public health has alerted the public not to consume two products linked to a food poisoning investigation after 12 diners who ate at a Markham, Ont., restaurant last weekend became seriously ill.

Dr. Barry Pakes, the region’s chief medical officer of health, said Thursday that Mr. Right brand Kaempferia Galanga Powder, a common spice in Asian cuisine, and Mr. Right brand Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffii, which may be used as a traditional herbal medicine, should not be used.

He said the suspected products have been removed from known retail locations in York Region, as local public health continues to work with provincial and federal partners to limit exposure to the product.

Twelve people went to local hospitals and four were treated in intensive care on Sunday within about an hour of eating the same chicken dish from Delight Restaurant and BBQ. Three were still in intensive care as of Wednesday, though public health said their conditions were improving. Another person who had been admitted to the ICU had left hospital.

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Lab results in Markham, Ont., food poisoning case expected at end of week

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At this point in the investigation, Pakes said there is a “strong indication” the illnesses were caused by a spice product contaminated with aconite, a toxin sometimes called called wolfsbane or monkshood, but lab results are expected later this week.

Pakes has said there is no indication that the contamination was intentional.

Health officials said the restaurant passed a re-inspection on Wednesday and has been cleared to open.

Symptoms of aconite poisoning include numbness in the face and extremities, severe gastrointestinal distress and an irregular heartbeat.

It can also cause nausea, vomiting, cramping and muscle weakness, and can be fatal if consumed in large enough quantities.

In March, B.C.’s poison information centre and the Fraser Health authority warned the public not to consume Wing Hing-brand sand ginger powder after two people were hospitalized and later recovered.

© 2022 The Canadian Press





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