Health officials probe suspected norovirus outbreak in Minn.

REDWOOD FALLS Minn. Health officials in south-central Minnesota are investigating a suspected outbreak of norovirus among customers of local McDonald’s and Burger King units, but say they have not pinpointed the source. Officials said they received 8 complaints linked to a McDonald’s in Redwood Falls, with more coming in, and 52 from customers of the small town’s Burger King.

Fourteen employees of the Burger King have also reported symptoms, which typically include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramps.

Upon notification from the Redwood-Renville County Public Health Department, local personnel sanitized the Burger King, disposed of all open food products, brought in a crew from another restaurant to operate the unit, retrained all employees in hand-washing policies, and required all food handlers to wear disposable gloves, as ordered by the health department, a Burger King spokesman said.

The unit remains open for business, said the spokesman, Keva Silversmith.

Jim Olson, McDonald’s local franchisee, issued a statement saying he and his managers are fully cooperating with the local health department investigation. The statement said, in part, “Food safety and sanitation standards at one of our restaurants were brought into question recently. We take these matters very seriously. We strongly caution anyone from drawing conclusions without having all the facts.”

This latest outbreak was linked to four people who ate at the McDonald’s restaurant Nov. 3.