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.
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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