Not To Be Outdone by Taco Bell, Taco John’s Adds E.Coli to Menu

From Forbes: “A suspected E. coli outbreak that began in Iowa widened in Minnesota on Tuesday, with health officials linking 14 apparent cases to Taco John’s restaurants in Albert Lea and Austin.”

All the “infected” restaurants use the same produce distributor, but the e. coli has not been connected to produce at this time.

“Taco John’s spokesman Brian Dixon identified the produce supplier for the three restaurants as St. Paul-based Bix Produce. But he stressed that the restaurant chain doesn’t yet know if the produce was the source of the E. coli. The disease can also be carried by undercooked meat, and Dixon said the chain is testing samples of all types of food from the restaurants in question.

“We’re still trying to pinpoint exactly what happened,” Dixon said. The company may decide to switch suppliers, he said.”

Meanwhile, Taco Bell is stressing that they are not in any way connected to Taco John’s.—MEGHANN MARCO

Taco Bell Says Food Is Safe [Forbes]

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  1. OnoSideboard says:

    Who picked the name “Taco John’s?” Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the authenticity of their Mexican food. It’s like… “Jose’s Italian Cafe,” or “Jim-bob’s French Bistro.”

  2. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Taco John’s…make a run for the restroom….

  3. JT says:

    I wonder how much the relaxing of demands, on mass producers to see to the well being of our environment so they can achieve higher profits and less operational cost (overhead), played a roll in these bacteria events.

    Certainly the businesses running the tightest margins (the kind a place cheap taco vendors would get supplies) would be the first to expire procedures in place to ensure a marginal level of safety for its end product.

    As consumers it’s tough to put a lot of pressure on agriculture at the source. At least until AFTER something like this happens. Even then it is through the government that the demands for quality are delivered. And we all know what a well oiled machine the government is.

    I still can’t get spinach at for my sandwiches at Subway.

  4. LocalYokel says:

    There was a Taco John’s in my hometown in Minnesota. Many years ago a bunch of people got sick, and they traced it to feces in the meat. An employee was responsible for it, and he was prosecuted, but I can’t think of anyone who dared eat there again.

  5. mfergel says:

    I love Taco Johns. No, it’s not authentic Mexican but it’s so much better than Taco Bell. Taco Bell is so bland compared to Taco Johns. Unfortunately, they are only in the midwest. It was reported today that the E.Coli was tied to lettuce at Taco Bell so perhaps they share the same vendor.

  6. AtomikB says:

    I love Taco Johns too. Even a story about e-coli there makes me hungry. If you’re not from the mountain west or the midwest you just can’t understand. ¡Olé!

  7. Tycho: “played a roll in these bacteria events.”

    To a large extent, it’s poor food handling and sanitation. We home garden, and the county extension constantly reminds us that in the U.S. more people get e. coli from poorly-washed lettuce than any other source. It can get on the lettuce from improperly prepared compost, non-treated water, or “we really don’t know, but there’s e. coli on your lettuce.”

    Fortunately a good washing in running water solves the problem! And washing your hands helps — before and after working in the garden, not just when working with food.

    So I gotta think that basically these companies are not washing their lettuce very well, and that’s pretty gross.

    (Incidentally, e. coli seems to be evolving to get better at living on veggies and fruits, or so the extension tells us. Which means we can expect more of these outbreaks.)

  8. Trai_Dep says:

    Fecal matter aside (Ohh, ZESTY!), shouldn’t it be, Taco Juan’s?

    Like their logo, though. It’s nice to see that that guy from Treasure of Sierra Madre is still getting work.

  9. Trai_Dep says:

    Oh, and I read that the main reason why these incidents are becoming epidemic is b/c of Big Agra. There’ve always been these outbreaks. But before a batch affected 100, 1000 ppl.

    Since Big Agra pools beef, chicken, produce in massive, water-soaked lots, the bacteria can share the love across entire regions. This is relatively recent (4 meatpackers now control 90% of the US ground beef supply, ten years ago it was 20).

    The best fix: go small again. Consumers wouldn’t mind the extra $0.021.

    The industry fix: Nuke it. NUKE IT! NUKE IT!!!

    Won’t even get into how they’re removing informed choice from consumers, from hormones, to antibiotics (creating super-bugs), GMF. But same principle – shave a few pennies that consumers would gladly spend, giving birth to myriad, significant societal problems).

  10. Triteon says:

    Who picked the name “Taco John’s?” Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the authenticity of their Mexican food.
    I’ll invite you to the Midwest, OnoSideboard, to visit our chain of Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafes…is it Irish, is it Mexican? It’s another misnomer!

  11. Triteon says:

    Oh, and Trai– that idea of going small will run you $21 in the Verizon commissary;)