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Some E. coli cases linked to Applebee’s

ST. PAUL — More than a dozen cases of foodborne illness are being investigated by the state health department — some from people who reported eating at Minnesota Applebee’s restaurants during a four-day period in June.

The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating 13 cases of a type of E. coli bacteria. The ill people don’t share obvious common threads, the department says, which indicates the illness resulted from a widely distributed food item.

Seven of the people reported eating at Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota from June 24-27. The restaurant volunteered to remove its Oriental chicken salad from Minnesota menus during the investigation, along with ingredients in the salad that are used in other menu items.

A news release from Applebee’s indicates the seven people who became ill ate at five Minneapolis-area Applebee’s restaurants. With six cases not linked to the restaurant, that’s an indication of a vendor produce issue, the company said.

Symptoms caused by this strain of E. coli include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools.

Four of the 13 people were hospitalized.