MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Dozens of Minnesotans are sick after eating imported fresh produce.

Two separate outbreaks of cyclospora have the Minnesota Department of Health asking for even healthy people to come forward.

For five years, the Lake Street restaurant has relied on regulars to keep their authentic Mexican on menus. So, the news hurt from the health department that 17 Sonora Grill patrons had cyclospora from produce they cooked with.

“You don’t want anybody to go through anything like this,” Conrado Badilla said.

“It’s hard to swallow or know what to do or what to say,” he added.

Washing or any other kind of sanitizing isn’t enough to kill the parasite. The best inspectors can tell is cilantro could be to blame, consumed the weekend of May 18-20. Sonora believes it came from a small vendor they will sometimes use in a pinch.

Cyclospora (credit: CBS)

It’s why the state still wants to hear from anyone who ate there that weekend, sick or not.

“They had no way of knowing that this could be happening,” Epidemiologist Supervisor Trisha Robinson said.

It can take a week or two to even get sick with cyclospora.

“Those are the people that we’d really love to talk to so we can identify this better,” Robinson said.

Symptoms are prolonged and unpleasant.

“People can have stomach cramps they can have some vomiting with it,” she said.

They are the same ailments at least 20 more Minnesotans have reported from a separate outbreak at Kwik Trip locations. Del Monte veggie trays have been pulled from gas stations across the state.

Back at Sonora, the only thing they hope to be serving now is a second chance.

Those Kwik Trip cases have already landed in court. Customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin have filed lawsuits asking the gas station and Del Monte to reimburse them for medical bills and lost wages. The attorney representing those customers says this is just the beginning.  He’s talked to at least 50 people who’ve gotten sick from those Kwik Trip veggies.

Liz Collin

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