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Cabbage identified as likely source of E. coli outbreak

Forum News Service

ST. PAUL -- State health officials have identified a variety of cabbage as the likely source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened 15 people in Minnesota in July.

Investigators with the Minnesota Department of Health discovered a pattern of infected people having eaten green whole head cabbage, a department news release said Friday.

Thirteen infected people had reportedly eaten at various Applebee's restaurants across the state.

"Many cases had reported eating the Oriental Chicken Salad at Applebee's, leading Applebee's to voluntarily and out of an abundance of caution pull the menu item and specific ingredients from the salad from their menu for a time," the release said. "It was returned to the menu after Applebee's obtained different sources for the ingredients."

The cabbage was likely contaminated at some point before distribution to restaurants, the release said. Officials traced the cabbage to "a common supplier outside Minnesota," which the release did not identify.

"Minnesota officials... continue to work with the United States Food and Drug Administration to investigate," the release said. "The FDA examination of the potentially involved farms is still ongoing."