Markham restaurant at centre of mass poisoning to reopen today

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 ate a chicken dish at the establishment became seriously ill, four of whom were admitted to intensive care.

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

“This particular toxin acts very quickly. So almost everybody presented to hospital and had quite severe symptoms, severe enough to bring them to a hospital, within about an hour of consuming the food,” Pakes told The Canadian Press in an interview.

York Region Public Health said testing is currently underway to confirm that theory.

The restaurant was shuttered in the aftermath of the poisoning but is set to reopen Wednesday.

“We don’t see there as being any safety risk at that restaurant. We’ve gone back and re-inspected it and they’ll be opening,” Pakes said.

Delight Restaurant & BBQ has been cooperating 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.

Pakes told CP24 on Tuesday the “good news” 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.

With files from The Canadian Press