Dozens fall ill after Moose Hall banquet

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has charged the Moose Hall on Fort William Road with failing to protect food from contamination, after people at a Christmas dinner last Friday developed cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Health inspectors shut down kitchen due to suspected foodborne illness

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is investigating a suspected foodborne illness after dozens of people fell ill following a banquet at the Moose Hall on Fort William Road.

Officials estimate that 20 percent of the 270 patrons at a Christmas dinner December 13th developed symptoms including severe cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The illness occurred within a few hours of the meal and was short-lived, with symptoms lasting an average of 24 hours.

People who ate at a December 13th Christmas party at the Moose Hall on Fort William Road suddenly fell ill

No deaths or hospitalizations have been reported.

The Moose Hall has been charged under the Health Protection and Promotion Act with failing to protect food from contamination.  "We have identified some significant elements of temperature abuse. Things being left out for long periods of time, neither hot enough nor cool enough, sort of right at that room temperature range," said Lee Sieswerda, manager of the environmental health program at the health unit. Sieswerda said it is "not the correct way to handle food."

Food production closed pending investigation

He added that food production at the hall has also been shut down pending the outcome of the investigation.  

Sieswerda told the CBC that a public health inspector was able to obtain ten food samples from the kitchen, which have been sent to laboratories in Thunder Bay and Toronto in an effort to identify a pathogenic agent.  He said results may be back next week.  

In the meantime, the health unit is trying to contact the people who attended the banquet last Friday, to find out what food they ate at the function. Besides Thunder Bay, the patrons came from Greenstone, Dryden, Kenora and other communities.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.