Last fall, at least 68 people in 10 states fell ill following an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis. In the months since, the Centers for Disease Control have only referred to a possible source of that strain as “Restaurant Chain A,” but a new report claims to have confirmed that the anonymous chain is actually Taco Bell.
According to Food Safety News, the restaurant’s identity was revealed in a document from the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Acute Disease Service titled, “Summary of Supplemental Questionnaire Responses Specific to Taco Bell Exposure of Oklahoma Outbreak associated cases Multistate Salmonella Enterititis Outbreak Investigation.”
Try to say that 10 times fast while eating a chalupa.
Of the 16 known cases in Oklahoma, 8 confirmed to authorities that they had eaten Taco Bell before falling ill, while another four victims didn’t fill out the questionnaire.
The CDC says that the reason it didn’t release the name of any eateries tied to the outbreak is that doing so would have not had any public health benefit.
“By the time we posted information about this outbreak, it was over,” a CDC spokesperson told ABC News. “If it was over, there would have been no public need to disclose it.”
Taco Bell defended itself to ABC. In addition to coughing up the requisite, “We take food quality and safety very seriously,” the Bell maintains that the CDC did not definitively ID the source of the salmonella and that the reports only “indicated that some people who were ill ate at Taco Bell, while others did not.”
In all, 68 people fell ill. Texas had the most cases with 43, followed by Oklahoma’s 16, Kansas with two, and Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, and Tennessee with one case each.
Back in 2010, Food Safety News outed Taco Bell as the likely source of a salmonella outbreak that made at least 155 people ill.
Taco Bell Named In Salmonella Investigation Report [Food Safety News]