Danforth restaurant moves on from hepatitis A scare

Regular customers of The Big Carrot Organic Juice Bar don’t appear to be worried about the recent hepatitis A scare.

On April 11, Toronto Public Health issued a warning to customers of the juice bar, located at 348 Danforth Ave. Health officials said an employee had tested positive for the virus and anyone who’d drunk juice at the restaurant from March 17 to April 2 should be vaccinated. Customer Yan Fossat didn’t seem alarmed.

“If they had found (the virus), it’s probably much safer now,” Fossat said.

Toronto Public Health said in a statement it believes The Big Carrot employee had contracted the virus while travelling outside of the country.

After the health department visited the restaurant, Sarah Dobec, public relations co-ordinator at The Big Carrot, posted notices and a statement on the storefront and on social media.

“It’s been a mixed review (on social media),” she said. “There are people who are understandably upset and worried for their health, but once they got the facts and information, they seemed to be happy with that.”

Dobec said patrons felt The Big Carrot had handled the situation appropriately. She added while their customers were supportive and understanding, the scare had been tough on everybody.

“It has been stressful for our staff and our customers,” Dobec said. “We’ve also had … some negative comments, but we’re handling that on a comment-to-comment basis.”

Dobec said The Big Carrot remained open after the Toronto Public Health visit.

“In knowing whether someone has hepatitis A, there’s not much you can do to deal with that,” she said. “These cases come up in public health systems quite regularly, but likely we do our best to help control the spread of infectious disease.”

The Toronto Public Health statement also said that symptoms of the disease usually begin 15 to 50 days after becoming infected, but symptoms do not always occur. Although chances of contracting the virus are low in this specific case, Toronto Public Health decided to open a vaccination clinic at the East York Civic Centre on Sunday to provide for those who may have been exposed.