At least 45 cases of Salmonella infection were recently reported in Minnesota, and health authorities believe that the outbreak began at several local Chipotle restaurants.
The Minnesota Department of Health released the report Friday when officials acknowledged that they were still investigating the source of the outbreak. The youngest patient is 15 years old while the oldest is 67 years old. Only five patients required hospitalization, but all those reported infected were recovering.
Minnesota authorities also disclosed that the recent outbreak has nothing to do with the salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated cucumbers imported from Mexico. Investigators found that the outbreaks were caused by different types of bacteria.
Investigators surveyed infected patients and learned that 32 dined at a Chipotle restaurant in recent weeks. In Minnesota the chain of restaurants has 17 locations. On the other hand, the state’s health department reported that investigations made at the restaurants show that the locations are safe places to eat at again.
“Chipotle has been extremely proactive in collaborating with investigators to quickly control the outbreak and identify its source,”
said Dana Eikmeier, one of the inspectors at the Minnesota Department of Health.
Chipotle announced Saturday that customer satisfaction and well being is the company’s top priority. The restaurant chain also said that it had fully collaborated with state health officials and removed the ‘suspect ingredient’ from all restaurants to make sure that the outbreak is contained.
Nevertheless, both health officials and company investigators couldn’t tell what the exact source of the outbreak was. The company announced that it would continue to work with health officials until they will identify a cause.
ealth authorites reassured the general public that the outbreak is contained within the state’s lines, but federal investigators were prompted to stay alert in case other cases are reported.
Doug Schultz of the state’s department of health said that the cases recorded were unusually high for the space and short time. The agency noted that the recent outbreak is one of the largest of its type seen in two decades.
Health inspectors explained that they are currently looking for contaminated ingredients at the restaurants and when they found some they try to find out whether the ingredients were already contaminated or they happened to get the bacteria at the restaurants.
Inspectors explained that often contaminated food can reach a restaurant which serves it raw in a salad for instance. In that case the restaurant has no way to tell whether the food was contaminated or not.
Image Source: Flickr
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