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Quiznos Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 10 in Minnesota

Oct 19, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP An outbreak of Salmonella poisoning linked to a Quiznos Restaurant has sickened at least 10 people in Minnesota, including 3 restaurant workers. While the exact source of the Salmonella has yet to be identified, managers at the Rochester, Minnesota Quiznos decided to temporarily close the restaurant as a precaution.  

Minnesota health officials are asking anyone who ate at the Quiznos Restaurant at 3499 22nd Avenue NW in Rochester to contact the health department if they experience Salmonella symptoms.  Salmonella bacteria cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 72 hours of exposure. Children, the elderly or people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to complications from Salmonella poisoning.   In rare cases, extreme instances of Salmonella poisoning can lead to a disease called Reiter’s Syndrome, which is associated with chronic arthritis.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, Salmonella bacteria sicken 40,000 people every year.  Although the true number could be much higher, because it is estimated that for every case of Salmonella poisoning reported, two others are unreported.

Restaurant outbreaks of Salmonella poisoning are not rare.  Last year, raw tomatoes served at restaurants around the country sickened dozens.  And this summer over 700 people in the Chicago area became ill from Salmonella after they ate at the Pars Cove Restaurant food booth at the Taste of Chicago Food Festival.

The Quiznos Restaurant was closed Wednesday after the Salmonella outbreak was detected, but reopened today.  Representatives for Quiznos said that the closure allowed for the removal and replacement of food supplies, and allowed the restaurant to bring in new staff.  The Quiznos employees who were working at the restaurant prior to and during the Salmonella outbreak will need to test negative for the food borne illness before returning.  Managers also said that the store had been scrubbed and sanitized, and that they got the go ahead from health investigators to reopen today.

The Minnesota Health Department is trying to determine if the Salmonella outbreak originated with contaminated food, or if a worker spread the illness from an outside source.  Because the three sickened workers fell ill around the same time that Quiznos customers were stricken with Salmonella poisoning does indicate that the outbreak originated with contaminated foods.  

This year, several Salmonella outbreaks have been traced to tainted foods.   Earlier in the summer, Salmonella-laced Veggie Booty Snack Mix sickened more than 100 people around the country.  And in February, Salmonella in ConAgra’s Great Value and Peter Pan Peanut Butter made more than 600 people ill.  Just last week, it was learned that another ConAgra product was behind a Salmonella outbreak.   The company recalled its Banquet and store brand pot pies on October 11, and the tainted pot pies have been linked to more than 170 cases of Salmonella poisoning nationwide.

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