Officials have not revealed the source of the contamination but believe it to be contained

By Alex Heigl
Updated September 11, 2015 01:45 PM
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Forty-five people have been sickened and five hospitalized in a rash of salmonella cases linked to 17 Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota.

The outbreak comes on the heels of a salmonella outbreak across 30 states tied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to cucumbers imported from Mexico.

The source of the Minnesota outbreak has not been confirmed, but investigators with the state’s Department of Health have a “strong suspicion” of the contaminated element, and said it has been removed from all Minnesota Chipotles, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “There is no reason to believe that this product is available anywhere in Minnesota any more,” Minnesota Health Department epidemiologist Dana Eikmeier told the paper.

Officials would not say what the contaminated ingredient was.

Thirty-two of the 34 people sickened in Minnesota ate at Chipotles in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud or Rochester. The infected ate at the restaurants in question between Aug. 16 and 26 and became sick between the 20th and 29th of the month.

“It’s safe to eat at Chipotle,” Health Department spokesman Doug Schultz told the Star Tribune, adding that he ate a fully loaded burrito bowl on Wednesday evening.

Chris Arnold, communications director for Chipotle, provided PEOPLE with the following statement: “The safety and well-being of our customers is always our highest priority. Since being contacted by the Minnesota Department of Health regarding a possible connection to this issue, we have offered our full cooperation to assist in their investigation, and replaced our entire supply of the suspect ingredient in Minnesota to ensure that it continues to be safe to eat in our restaurants. While this issue in Minnesota does not present an ongoing risk to consumers, we are committed to working with health department officials while they look to determine a cause.”