January 23, 2018

Taco Bell Named as “Restaurant A” in Salmonella Outbreak

Taco Bell has been named as “Restaurant A” in the ten state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis that took place last year, according to the Okalahoma Department of Health. Food Poisoning Bulletin spoke to a Taco Bell representative and confirmed this news.

In December 2011, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report that 68 people were sickened with Salmonella in 10 states after eating at an unnamed restaurant. More than 31% of the patients were hospitalized. The CDC claimed that since some people who were sick ate at the “Mexican-style fast-food restaurant chain” and some did not, they couldn’t release the restaurant’s name.

Many food safety experts were upset at the CDC’s lack of transparency. The agency said that they only publicly identify a company responsible for an outbreak when “People can use that information to take specific action to protect their health.”

The government thinks the contamination happened at the supplier level, before the food reached Taco Bell. They were also unable to determine which specific food caused the outbreak, since 94% of the victims ate ground beef, 90% ate lettuce and 77% ate cheese. The epidemiological map shows the case numbers and states where the victims live.

Taco Bell released a statement today in response to the allegations:

“The CDC has stated the public health is not at any risk and this incident is completely over. They have not identified the food source of the foodborne illness that occurred in October and November of 2011. The CDC indicated that some of the people who were ill ate at Taco Bell, while others did not. They believe that the problem likely occurred at the supplier level before it was delivered to any restaurant or food outlet. We take food quality and safety very seriously.”

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