Chipotle linked to 45 salmonella cases in Minnesota

State health officials are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella cases associated with eating at Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday.

A total of 45 cases of Salmonella have been reported since Sept. 2.  Since many do not seek health care and get tested, officials believe there is likely more.

Of the 34 people who have been interviewed to date, 32 ate or likely ate at 17 different Chipotle restaurant locations in Minnesota. Most of the locations are in the Twin Cities metro area, with one in St. Cloud and one in Rochester.

Their meal dates range from Aug. 16 to Aug. 26, and they became ill between Aug. 20 and Aug. 29. The cases range in age from 15 to 67 years, 56 percent are male. Five cases have been hospitalized; all are recovering.

Chipotle served more than 560,000 customers in Minnesota in that time frame.

“Health officials want to bring this outbreak to the attention of people who have become ill with symptoms of salmonellosis but who have not yet consulted a health care provider,” the MDH said. “These people should mention this outbreak to their health care provider should they consult one.”

Officials are working on identifying a specific food item source of the outbreak. In the meantime, Chipotle has changed the source of the suspect produce item under investigation.

“Chipotle has been extremely proactive in collaborating with investigators to quickly control the outbreak and identify its source,” Dana Eikmeier, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Unit of MDH, said.

Chipotle locations involved

7 Corners (Minneapolis), Bloomington, Calhoun, Crystal, Hopkins, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Richfield, Ridgedale, Rochester, Shoreview, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul Lawson, Uptown, and US Bank Plaza (Minneapolis).

However, it is possible that other locations in Minnesota could have been affected as well. At this time there is no indication that locations outside of Minnesota are involved.

Statement from Chipotle

"The safety and well-being of our customers is always our highest priority. Since being contacted by the Minnesota Department of Health regarding a possible connection to this issue, we have offered our full cooperation to assist in their investigation, and replaced our entire supply of the suspect ingredient in Minnesota to ensure that it continues to be safe to eat in our restaurants. While this issue in Minnesota does not present an ongoing risk to consumers, we are committed to working with health department officials while they look to determine a cause."

For more information from the MDH on Salmonella and how to prevent it, click here.