Food samples tested ruled out in E. coli outbreak



Posted 6 hours ago

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-Food samples tested for E. coli at Harvey's Restaurant North Bay have returned with negative results.

Dr. Catherine Whiting, medical officer of health with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, said finding the source is not a process that can be completed overnight.

She said in these situations there is a "pretty high" potential that a product will not be identified, however they're getting closer to narrowing down possible causes of the bacterial outbreak.

"I am hopeful we will have a report to release, however nothing will be made before December and maybe later."

Whiting said the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is working with "many" other agencies, including heath units in 10 Ontario communities, Quebec and British Columbia where people have reported symptoms related to E. coli, such as bloody diarrhea.

The Algonquin Avenue restaurant has been closed since Oct. 12. There is still no indication when it will reopen for business.

Whiting closed its doors after there was sufficient evidence to link a potential E. coli outbreak to the fast food outlet.

When asked when the restaurant will reopen, Whiting said the health unit is working with the restaurant. "We made sure we had all the samples and now we don't need access to the food." As of Wednesday afternoon there are 249 cases under investigation, of which 49 have been lab confirmed for E. coli. At least two people have been hospitalized from the outbreak.

According to a media release from the health unit, "the outbreak is in its final stages with no new lab-confirmed cases." During its monthly meeting Wednesday, the health unit board approved the law firm of Middlebro' and Stevens to advise them in regard to legal matters pertaining to the E. coli outbreak.

"We had to look for a legal representative, because our current lawyer has a conflict of interest in this situation," Whiting said, adding the Owen Sound law firm worked with the health unit involved in the Walkerton E. coli tragedy.

"They have good experience with this issue."


A $17-million class-action lawsuit has been filed against Cara Operations Ltd., the company which runs the Harvey's chain.

North Bay Nugget



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