Ontario restaurant poisoning: Public health warns of two spices

Public health in Ontario’s York region is asking people to avoid consuming two Asian spices, following a possible poisoning at a restaurant in Markham that killed a dozen people.

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An investigation has also been launched. The poisoning is believed to have been caused by food served last weekend at Delight Restaurant & BBQ on Castlemore Avenue.

On Wednesday evening, York Region Public Health advised that at this stage of the investigation, “there is a strong indication that the illness was caused by a spice product contaminated with aconite.” .

Public Health added that spices under the brand “Mr. Right brand Keampferia Galanga Powder, a spice used for Asian cooking, might be contaminated with aconite, and the spice “Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffii Powder”, used for a medicinal herb, should not be consumed.

The Delight Restaurant & BBQ was inspected another time, before finally being able to reopen on Wednesday. York Region’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Barry Pakes, told the Toronto Star that these were isolated cases caused by a spice-contaminated chicken. The safety of the establishment would not be in question.

“Since it is the spice that is potentially the source of the contamination, we see no reason to keep this restaurant closed,” he said.

On Friday, Barry Pakes is expected to receive lab test results.

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