2 more cases of E. coli confirmed; illness tied to 9 Applebee's restaurants

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Two more cases of E. coli infection have been confirmed in Minnesota as part of a recent outbreak that's been tied to some Applebee's restaurants, reports say.

The Minnesota Department of Health told the Associated Press Thursday it has interviewed 14 of the 15 people who came down with the illness, confirming 12 of the people who got sick had eaten at Applebee's restaurants in Minnesota from June 23-29.

The health department lists nine Applebee's locations where people who got sick ate, including two locations in Blaine, and one each in Duluth, Roseville, Willmar, Woodbury, Monticello, Bemidji and New Hope, reports say. Kansas City-based Applebee’s has 58 restaurants in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday that 13 people were infected with the E. coli O111 strain, and seven of them said they had eaten at an Applebee’s restaurant in Minnesota between June 24 and 27. The other cases have no apparent connection to the restaurant chain.

The Health Department said Monday Applebee’s is cooperating with the investigation and has removed its Oriental chicken salad from menus at all Minnesota restaurants as a precaution.

FOX 9 is reporting the restaurants have since reintroduced the menu item as officials work to identify a food item that's causing the illness. Applebee's said it had voluntarily changed food suppliers so it could reintroduce the salad, the Pioneer Press reports.

On Wednesday, a Minneapolis law firm announced it was suing the Applebee’s restaurant chain on behalf of a 22-year old man who said he became ill with an E. coli infection after eating at one of its restaurants.

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