Taco Bell’s former green onion supplier is suing Taco Bell for libel after the taco giant incorrectly linked green onions to the e. coli scare that sickened more than 70 people last year.
From the LA TImes:
Boskovich Farms Inc., the Oxnard green onion grower linked and then cleared in Taco Bell’s E. coli outbreak in December, is firing back at the fast-food chain.
The grower contended in a lawsuit last week that the Irvine-based chain’s actions libeled the farming concern and destroyed much of its business.
Taco Bell continued to link its onions to the outbreak that sickened more than 70 restaurant patrons in the Northeast in December even after it knew the produce was not contaminated, the lawsuit said.
The false connection between the farm and Taco Bell’s E. coli problem has cost Boskovich “millions of dollars of business,” said attorney Thomas Girardi, but he declined to state a specific dollar amount. “We had a whole crop of green onions that we couldn’t even give away. It was just plowed under.”
He added, “Taco Bell engaged in an irresponsible and intentional crusade to save its own brand at the expense of an innocent supplier.”
Even though lettuce was the actual source of the e. coli contamination, Taco Bell removed green onions from its menu and stated that it has no plans to sell green onions again. Lettuce continues to be a part of approximately 70% of Taco Bell’s menu items. The farm has no plans to replant green onions because of falling sales. —MEGHANN MARCO