Officials probe cause as dozens sickened after local Ducks Unlimited fundraising dinner

There was this time, I was editor of the Port Colborne New, a weekly broadsheet in 1988.

Katija came from that area.

There was one night, and the only night, me and a bunch of friends did magic mushrooms (which are being considered for medicinal purposes) ran along the waterfront, terrified by nothing, and then went to my home and someone fell through a window.

The primary story I covered in Port Colborne (and yes, I did live in a trailer) was the development of a new port, and how the duck hunters of Ducks Unlimited wanted it stopped.

They lost.

The Free Press in London, Ontario (that’s in Canada, not England) reports that at  least 57 people got sick after attending a recent Ducks Unlimited fundraising dinner in Strathroy, prompting local health officials to investigate a possible case of mass food poisoning..

The Middlesex-London Health Unit received public complaints from people who got sick after attending a sold-out dinner for Strathroy-Caradoc Ducks Unlimited at the Strathroy Portuguese Canadian Club March 30.

“We don’t know the micro-organism yet. We haven’t had lab confirmation of anything yet, but all of their symptoms were gastrointestinal, diarrhea and vomiting. Some had a fever, some had nausea,” said Mary Lou Albanese, the health unit’s infectious disease control team manager.

The reported illnesses prompted a public health inspection of the facility two days later. The inspector found five infractions in the April 1 site visit, including one critical non-compliance issue that had the potential to pose an immediate food-borne illness risk.

The inspector found the facility failed to maintain pest control measures, didn’t have a trained food handler supervising the kitchen and didn’t ensure utensils, equipment and facilities were cleaned and sanitized. The inspector’s report also found the dishwasher wasn’t designed or maintained to ensure utensils are sanitized and the kitchen’s walls and ceilings weren’t kept clean and in good repair.

The inspector issued three remediation actions to the club, including implementing food handler education for its employees.

The facility was given a passing grade by health inspectors.

In a statement, Strathroy-Caradoc Ducks Unlimited said they’re “devastated” people fell ill at their fundraiser.

“Our thoughts go out to those affected and the families who are dealing with this unfortunate situation,” the group said.


Rust never sleeps.