The complaints date back to early September, when the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) began fielding complaints from Minnesota residents who claimed to have contracted salmonella poisoning. Upon investigation, MDH found the majority of the complainants had one thing in common: they had eaten at a restaurant in the Chipotle chain.
The complaints have reportedly been traced back to an ingredient that was served in 17 separate Chipotles, many of which were in the Twins Cities metro area. Two lawsuits have recently been filed by Minnesota women who fell ill after eating at area Chipotle locations. Susan Wikstrom became ill after eating at the Maplewood location on August 28, while April Beck contracted salmonella following a meal at the Uptown Chipotle.
Tomatoes the Source
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) reported that tomatoes were the source of the outbreak. According to a Star Tribune article, they are working to trace the tomatoes back to the farm that produced them.
Health officials are concerned that some residents may have contracted salmonella without realizing it. Symptoms generally develop between 12 to 72 hours of infection and include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The symptoms usually last less than a week and can easily be mistaken for the flu. In some cases, severe dehydration leads some patients to seek medical treatment. In rare cases, a salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those who have already had their health compromised.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has already confirmed 45 reported cases, but officials believe numbers may be much higher. The department urges Minnesota residents who ate at an area Chipotle between August 16 and 26 and became ill between August 20 and 29 to consult with a healthcare provider.
Danger Has Passed
Officials believe the danger has passed, with Chipotle stating that it has replaced the ingredient it believes was causing a problem. But between the dates of August 16 and 26, more than 560,000 customers were served in Minnesota, leading to the possibility that many more people were infected. MDH officials stress that Chipotle has been extremely cooperative, taking proactive measures to prevent the situation from worsening.
Beck claims after being infected she had to be hospitalized twice and developed blood clots in her arms. Since being released from the hospital on September 4th, she says she has continued to suffer from diarrhea and blood clots. She is seeking unspecified damages. Wikstrom seeks $75,000 in damages, saying she began developing stomach cramps and diarrhea three days after eating at Chipotle, with her symptoms worsening in the days that followed. A medical test confirmed she had contracted salmonella.
If you believe you ate at one of the affected Chipotle restaurants between August 16 and 26 and became ill, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately, especially if symptoms persist. The outbreak has been traced to locations in the Twin Cities area, as well as one location in St. Cloud and one in Rochester. Contact James Sheehy at 1-888-728-9866 if you believe you have been a victim of salmonella poisoning.