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Applebee’s gets back its Oriental chicken salad

Fans of Applebee’s Oriental chicken salad will be able to begin ordering the entree again throughout Minnesota today.

With clearance from the Minnesota Department of Health, Applebee’s voluntarily changed suppliers in order to re-

introduce the Oriental chicken salad to the menu at restaurants throughout Minnesota. Applebee’s has been cooperating with the state’s investigation of 13 cases of illness caused by a type of E. coli bacteria.

In addition, Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota will reintroduce green cabbage, shredded carrots, almonds and rice noodles to all items across the menu.

“At no time was Applebee’s required to remove ingredients from the menu,” said Dan Smith, company spokesman based in Kansas City, Mo. “Our perspective is that we share the Department of Health’s desire to determine the source as quickly as possible. Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our guests.”

The ill people didn’t share obvious common threads, the Health Department said, 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 used in the salad, including cabbage and shredded carrots, which it uses in other menu items.

“We made these decisions in cooperation with our franchisees in Minnesota and with their input,” Smith said.

Symptoms caused by this strain of E. coli include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools. This strain hasn’t been seen in the country previously, the Health Department said. Anyone who has visited a Minnesota Applebee’s since June 20 and has symptoms should contact the Health Department.

Four of the 13 people were hospitalized and all are recovered or recovering.