My kids always bugged me to get one – now I know why I kept saying no.

Alejandra Matos of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that at least 81 people fell ill from suspected Salmonella poisoning after eating guinea pig meat and other foods from a vendor at a Minneapolis street festival earlier this month, health officials said.

The vendor had a city permit but sold unapproved food and handled it improperly, according to a city spokesman.

The outbreak happened at the Ecuadorean Independence Day celebration at the New York Plaza Produce grocery, 1304 E. Lake St., on Aug. 11. Scores of people went to Hennepin County Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Minneapolis with severe gastrointestinal symptoms after eating the tainted food.

Bill Belknap, a spokesman for Hennepin County Public Health, said some of those who fell ill ate a traditional Ecuadorean dish that contained guinea pig, but others who didn’t eat that dish also were sickened. The Minnesota Department of Health said a number of them tested positive for Salmonella.