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Toronto Summer: CNE offering Elvis-inspired sandwich, other fun foods

Some of the most thrilling rides at the Canadian National Exhibition can be for your taste buds and this year is no exception.

Fran’s is serving up a Thanksgiving waffle — stuffing cooked up in a waffle iron and topped with roast turkey, cranberry sauce, and gravy.

Visitors can try an Elvis-inspired grilled cheese, featuring cheddar cheese, peanut butter, bacon, and bananas.

And memories of the cronut, which was contaminated last year and made dozens sick, aren’t putting off vendors from serving up the “crobar,” a combination croissant and chocolate bar.

But organizers are not taking last year’s cronut fiasco lightly.

CEO David Bednar said since last year, The Ex has required further “checks and balances” for food that comes from offsite — from preparation to transfer to storage.

“Once we knew what it was, we didn’t hesitate to deal with it right then and there,” he said in an interview.

“We’re confident we’ve strengthened our policies sufficiently … I want to be able to back it up when I say [the CNE] is the safest place in Toronto to eat a meal.”

Toronto Public Health will be conducting the same strict food inspections as always, with a team of 20 inspectors on hand for opening day.

Each food vendor will be inspected at least twice, and two or three inspectors will be on the fairgrounds daily.

“We’re not doing anything significantly different from what we’ve done in the previous years,” said Sylvanus Thompson, an associate director with TPH.

In addition to their usual procedures, TPH will be reviewing all items and ingredients prepared off-site to ensure they’re from a premise covered under public health inspections.

The maple bacon jam that was the source of food-borne illness for dozens of CNE goers last year came from Le Dolci, an establishment that passed a public health inspection weeks before The Ex kicked off.

Samples taken showed the jam was contaminated by Staphylococcus aureus toxin.

The food vendor Epic Burger and Waffles voluntarily closed while public health officials conducted their investigation. It reopened a week later and took the Cronut burger off its menu.

The public health department said 150 people were interviewed, and confirmed illness from the jam in 79 people – six of whom were hospitalized, with one requiring an overnight stay.

Not just taste buds are in for a ride at this year’s fair.

Visitors can take in midway games, the rides, or the shows.

Bacon Nation will also have bacon-wrapped Coca-Cola chicken on the menu.

The CNE kicks off Aug. 15.

Check out our Storify of sights and sounds from the CNE media preview Wednesday.

With files from Showwei Chu

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