On October 16, 2007, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) determined that seven individuals who had submitted stool samples for testing at the State Public Health Laboratory had all been infected with the same strain of Salmonella Typhimurium, suggesting a common source. MDH interviewed all ill individuals and quickly learned that all cases had eaten foods from a Quizno’s restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota in the days before becoming ill. The same day, MDH and Olmstead County Public Health Services (OCPHS) began investigating what appeared to be a Salmonella outbreak.
A case-control study was conducted, with a "case" defined as a person who had eaten at the Rochester Quizno's on or after October 1, 2007 and had Salmonella Typhimurium with an isolate that matched the outbreak strain of Salmonella.
OCPHS conducted an environmental investigation at Quizno’s and sent multiple samples to the MDH lab for testing. The tomato slicer was also disassembled and sent to be swabbed and cultured.
Through its case-control investigation, MDH and OCPHS identified 23 cases; 18 were culture-confirmed, and one person was hospitalized for two days. Four ill individuals were employees of the Quizno’s restaurant. All cases ate food prepared at the restaurant between October 1 and October 8, 2007.
In its final outbreak report, MDH concluded:
This was an outbreak of S. Typhimurium infections associated with consumption of tomatoes at a Quiznos restaurant. The tomatoes were likely already contaminated when they entered the restaurant. Based on case meal dates and produce receipt records, the most likely scenario is that the outbreak was due to second-use tomatoes that entered the restaurant on September 27.
Marler Clark represented seven individuals in claims against Quizno’s. The law firm resolved all cases.