Chipotle restaurants are under the microscope as Minnesota health officials report that 45 people have been sickened by a salmonella outbreak that links back to them.
So far, 45 people have reported becoming sick in the outbreak, but officials do not know if that will be the end to the numbers. At this point it is not completely clear as to what the exact source of the contamination was. The number reported were from people aged 15 to 67, according to ABC News.
Out of the total number, five of them were hospitalized. The Minnesota Department of Health noted that all of the infected people are recovering.
The outbreak that is pointing back to a possible source from the Chipotle restaurants is not connected to the recent salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers. Officials have said that the two outbreaks were caused by two different strains of the disease.
A group of 34 people that were sickened were interviewed with 32 of them having reported eating at one of the 17 different Chipotle restaurants located in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Heath have announced that they believe there are no longer any transmissions from the restaurants.
“Chipotle has been extremely proactive in collaborating with investigators to quickly control the outbreak and identify its source,” Dana Eikmeier, epidemiologist for the Food-borne Diseases Unit of the Minnesota Department of Health, said in a statement.
The communications director for Chipotle, Chris Arnold, said: “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,” Arnold added. “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.”
Officials have stated that there is no indication that the outbreak has moved outside of the state lines. But in order to take precautions, a nationwide monitoring system has been activated in case other cases come up.
“This is an unusually large number of people who have reported [being infected] in such a space of time,” said Doug Schultz, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health, noting that the supervisor of the agency’s food-borne illness unit described it as “one of the largest he’s seen in 20 years.”