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Salmonella On The Menu At Taco Bell

Salmonella On The Menu At Taco Bell

Food served at Taco Bell restaurants is the source of two Salmonella outbreaks that have sickened at least 155 people in 21 states, according to a statement issued on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health. So far, around 40 patients have been hospitalized.

According to the CDC, multistage outbreaks of Salmonella Hartford and Salmonella Baildon, both rare serotypes of Salmonella bacteria, have been under investigation since April. You can read full details of the report, including which states are involved and a breakdown of cases from state to state, by clicking here.

Perfectly safe to eat at Taco Bell?

So far, although no specific food item or product has been determined to be the cause of these outbreaks, the CDC emphasizes that Taco Bell has been helpful in the investigation. Strangely, however, in light of the ongoing investigation, the company put out this statement, attributed to Anna Ohki, chief quality assurance officer: “We take food safety very seriously and our food is perfectly safe to eat so our customers have absolutely no cause for concern.” Really?

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella bacteria cause much of the food poisoning in the world, including an estimated 1,400,000 cases in the United States each year. Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals, but humans are usually infected by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Contaminated foods are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk or eggs, but it is possible for any food to become contaminated.

All you need to know

*  The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days
*  Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.
*  Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections can occur.
*  Infants, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

Not Again!

This is not Taco Bell’s first episode of food poisoning. In 2006, the company was linked to an E.coli outbreak in which at least 71 people got sick. In that case, green onions were identified as the source of the contamination.

An outbreak of salmonella at Taco Bell is just one more reason to stay away from fast food altogether. Even if you need food in a hurry, making it yourself will almost always be cheaper and healthier. How long can it take to pull out some salad ingredients and toss them together? That way, you know exactly what’s in your food.

Why not skip the fast food altogether?

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8:47AM PST on Dec 19, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

2:43PM PDT on Oct 23, 2011


2:42PM PDT on Oct 23, 2011


6:52AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

Furthermore, how many of you that blame the employees have ever worked at a fast food place?
My first job was at Subway which I started the day I turned 16 (legal age to work in AZ). Although yes, there were things we had to bs careful of, such as watching the temperatures of the hot and cold foods, the bulk of the food we received on our deliveries, especially the meat, all came pre-sliced and packaged. We took it straight from the package to the containers that we served them out of.
I'm sure it's similar at most places... My cousin worked at taco bell and told me that they make their beans from a powder that they mix with water (yummy right?), so I'd say that it would be pretty hard to screw that up; and their meat (seasoned beef) hardly has any meat in it at all (there is even a lawsuit pending).

And to those saying there should be no fast food, good luck with that! Do you know/remember what started up fast food?
Drive up burger places back in what, like the 50's? That's where McDonald's started, and became hugely popular. And it slowly transitioned from drive up (although Sonic has drive up and drive thru) to drive thru, and the American monster of fast food was born. Why is it so popular? It's fast, convenient, cheap, nearby and easy to get something for everyone.
As I mentioned below, I don't and won't eat fast food. When I was dating my husband, I made him stop eating it. I would NEVER feed it to my own kid.
However, fast food is here to stay, sadly.

6:40AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

The biasness in this article is just way over the top!

Yes, there have been outbreaks of many types at many different food services locations, but, there are also many recorded cases of people getting sick from preparing their own food at home. This is why Clorox (sp?) is making a killing on their sanitizing wipes, because just using a counter top or cutting board can transfer bacteria from one food (say uncooked chicken that was being handled) to another (perhaps you would prepare a salad while the chicken is cooking?). And salad is a good example, after the major spinach outbreak that made it impossible to find any spinach because everyone was so scared that it all got destroyed and we went weeks without having any. It even affected the cooking show Hell's Kitchen.
Honestly, I don't eat fast food, I haven't in years. I think that the food is disgusting, low quality, and not very skillfully prepared... Not to mention the overweight/obeisity epidemic in the US (a fast food meal typically has more than 1200 calories in it which is all I can eat while trying to lose a bit of weight).
However, as much as I dislike and do not support fast food, that doesn't mean that it is the cause of most food born illness. In fact, when considering quantity produced, I'm willing to bet that fast food places have less issues than do normal eataries, because ultimately, it comes down to where the food is supplied from.

11:19PM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Oh, come on people things like this happen because big business takes short cuts in order to continue making tons of money. It has always been about greed, the taco bell workers are not to blame. It just easier to blame some minimum wage employee than for the upper level management to admit they take short cuts. I'd say it's more likely the food is being stored lower than 6 inches were the mice and bugs can get to it.

1:01PM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

Thank you!

5:53PM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

this site

has info on safe food handling as well as specific risks and food recalls.

2:28PM PDT on Aug 15, 2010


8:06AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

OK, there are outbreaks. There will always be outbreaks.

If you think the front line employees building your taco are to blame, they aren't. You can date food properly, store it at correct temperatures, wash hands properly, and if it's contaminated, it will still make people sick.

Were grocery stockers responsible for contaminating the peanut butter products in their little sealed packages? No. It arrived on their shelves from contaminated factories. As for making a salad at home, for a while you couldn't buy spinach anywhere because it was contaminated. Schwann's ice cream made people sick not because the ice cream stuff in the truck was handled incorrectly, but the truck had been used for eggs first, and not cleaned well enough.

A lot of people confuse food borne illness bacteria with spoilage bacteria. It's not the same. You won't see mold, it won't smell funky or look funny, there is NO hint it isn't safe to eat.

If you want to blame someone, look at how we farm, slaughter animals, process foods. Most problems originate there. That is why it's widespread outbreaks across states. The local fast food franchise can do everything right and you'll still get sick.

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