Outbreak Of Rare Salmonella Strains Linked To Taco Bell

In the last few months, at least 155 people in several states have become ill from a pair of rare strains of salmonella. And according to authorities, the source of the salmonella is food served at Taco Bell.

“It’s been clear for weeks that Taco Bell was the source for many of the illnesses,” an epidemiologist from Oregon Public Health explained. “It’s equally clear that it’s not all Taco Bell. It’s also not a single Taco Bell restaurant.”

The cases of salmonellosis began popping up in April with most instances located in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Centers for Disease Control has been investigating the outbreak and recently confirmed that a fast food chain that serves Mexican food was the source.

It’s believed that the culprit is likely tomatoes and/or lettuce and it’s likely that the initial source of the outbreak is one of the chain’s produce suppliers.

Officials believe that the outbreak has finished, but the investigation is ongoing.

The two strains of salmonella involved in the outbreak — Hartford and Baildon — are rarely seen in the U.S.; the last Baildon outbreak was in 1988-89. When ingested, they cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Taco Bell Source of Salmonella [Food Safety News]

Taco Bell implicated in two salmonella outbreaks sickening more than 150 [OregonLive.com]


Edit Your Comment

  1. goodpete says:

    Wow, 155 people? That’s way more folks than have gotten sick from patronizing evil, black market lemonade stands!


    • Saites says:

      Taco bell serves a lot of people, you know. This girl didn’t have much time to serve her poison.

    • Winfield says:

      Awesome. I believe she’s getting a second chance this afternoon at another location in Portland.

  2. pantheonoutcast says:

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the recent upsurge in the number of snakes in the drive-thru….

    • DariusC says:

      That was Taco Johns, however… Taco Johns is not as good as Bell though :D

      Also, I will be frequenting Taco Bell less frequently in the future.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        I ate at Taco John’s for the first, and last, time on vacation. We saw them everywhere and stopped for lunch while driving. It’s sad when Taco Bell has better food than some place.

    • Bakergirl says:

      Heh….That would make them poop themselves…..Now if they didn’t wash their hands afterwards…Oh wait, that’s E coli.

  3. raybury says:

    “When ingested, they cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting.”

    And this differs from non-contaminated Taco Bell food how?

  4. rpm773 says:

    How many thousands more people got sick, but couldn’t disassociate it from the normal reaction to Taco Bell?

    /Ah, the time-honored Taco Bell jab…

  5. Cyniconvention says:

    “It’s equally clear that it’s not all Taco Bell. It’s also not a single Taco Bell restaurant.”

    Is it just my misunderstanding, or was that worded poorly?

  6. EarthAngel says:

    I didn’t get sick from eating Taco Bell. But I feel this is an excellent time to sue.

  7. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    That’s what we get for having such lax border controls: Illegal Salmonella

  8. NaptownMVP says:

    God dammit! I just had Taco Bell LAST NIGHT! Where were you yesterday, Consumerist???

  9. It'sRexManningDay! says:

    Taco Bell salmonella is the best!

  10. Bakergirl says:

    It’s gotta be the nutria…

  11. sixsevenco says:

    About a month ago, both my parents and nieces became violently ill after eating Taco Bell. My father was so dizzy that when he had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, he fell and was unconscious for 5 minutes. He has a history of health problem, including stroke and heart attack. As a result of their Taco Bell experience, both my parents were hospitalized. I am trying not to be over dramatic, but this really could have killed my dad.

    We notified the “restaurant” as well as the Department of Heath of the State and City. As far as I know, nothing was ever done about it. If this happened to your family, what would you have done?

    • Bakergirl says:

      Your family had the right to contact the owners (if the Taco bell was a franchise) or contact the company. Proof could have been found through the hospital findings, receipts, even through security cams at the location, try and find out if other people got sick at that location too if you can.

      This happened to my husband through a vending machine, although he didn’t get smart worms, but he did get sick from a poorly processed danish. The company took responcibility and did a recall. They also paid for his missed time from work and medical bills. You never know until you ask…

      • sixsevenco says:

        Futurama reference. Awesome!

        I think asking Taco Bell to pay the medical bills would be fair. My parents don’t like conflict, so it probably will never happen… They will certainly never eat at any Taco Bell ever again, nor will anyone else in my family.

        • Bakergirl says:

          I would only eat there if I was reallllly ‘backed up’. :) I understand not wanting to make a fuss, but if your health is already comprimised, bad food will make it that much more worse for your folks. Like I said, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

          ….Oh and avoid truck stop toilet sandwiches… :)

  12. andoman says:

    When you’re drivin in your chevy and ya feel something heavy, diarrhea, diarrhea
    When you’re eating Taco Bell, and you take a sh*t like hell, diarrhea, diarrhea
    When you just got their drive-thru and you’re feeling all that poo, diarrhea, diarrhea

    • andoman says:

      The traffic’s really clogging, but your ass is prairie-doggin, diarrhea, diarrhea
      Just one more intersection, but your car seat’s no protection, diarrhea, diarrhea
      Your head hung low in shame, the e-coli was to blame, diarrhea, diarrhea

      • andoman says:

        Your girlfriend sent a twitter, that you’re still stuck on the sh*tter, diarrhea, diarrhea
        You really really pissed, so it’s off to consumerist….. diarrhea, diarrhea
        Gotta warn the others, tell the children, wives and mothers, diarrhea, diarrhea

  13. Benzona says:

    “they cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting.” but I get those symptoms anytime I eat at Taco Bell.

  14. ellemdee says:

    I had salmonella for a month once, it was not fun. I kept reinfecting myself by eating the offending product since I had no idea at the time that you could get salmonella from peanut butter. Upset stomach? I bet a spoonful of peanut butter will help me feel better! I didn’t even get to miss work since I just convinced myself it was just my lactose intollerance acting up reeeeeal bad.

    I’m glad the Taco Bell near work has been closed for renovation lately, otherwise I would have probably eaten there this week.

  15. oldtaku says:

    So this means those new fake plasticy ‘street tacos’ they’re selling might be authentic after all!

  16. hotcocoa says:

    Ugh, Taco Bell needs to just be shut down for good…this place has had so many food poisoning cases linked to it, it’s ridiculous. It’s like they have an exclusive contract for salmonella outbreaks or something. Why do people keep eating their crap?

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Unfortunately, it’s really not Taco Bell’s fault but their supplier’s fault. The food wasn’t infected at the restaurant, it was infected before Taco Bell even got it. Unless the supplier is exclusive to Taco Bell this could happen at any restaurant.

  17. Froggmann says:

    Well that explains it…

  18. TuxRug says:

    And yet I still want to try one of Taco Bell’s “Cantina Tacos”. According to the links, only one case reported in CO, so I guess I’m safe…

    • TVGenius says:

      Those things are the mexican food equivalent of sacrilege, as is most of Taco Bell’s food. I don’t know how they stay open here in Arizona, we have the real thing. Even the pictures of those things on their website don’t look at all appetizing.

      • inadequatewife says:

        Agreed… I’ve vacationed in Mexico a number of times, and have always sought out tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurants off the beaten path…. Taco Bell doesn’t even come close to the truly good authentic stuff.

    • inadequatewife says:

      I had the Cantina Tacos yesterday – one pork, one beef, one chicken. The corn tortillas were already split when I opened the foil wrapper, they literally fell apart as I tried to pick them up, there was an insufficient quantity of filling, very dry overall. The “fresh” pico was good, and the lime wedge was a nice touch, but I thought the $5 bacon ranch chalupa, taco, and cinnamon twist box from last month was a much better value than this $4.99 special.

  19. NumberSix says:

    Mexical Food should be in quotes.

  20. Ivan says:

    Who on earth started the rumor that Taco Bell serves Mexican food????

  21. kvalberg says:

    “When ingested, they cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting.” That’s less than the side effects you find in most prescription drugs on the market. I’d say you’re better off than going to the doctor to fix the problem.

  22. Snaptastic says:

    So in other words, I shouldn’t feel guilty for eating nothing but 5-layer burritos. I’ve been doing myself a favor! (no tomatoes or lettuce in those!)

  23. Firevine says:

    “When ingested, they cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting.”

    Soooooo…you won’t even notice a difference?

  24. iluvhatemail says:

    big surprise. I got food salmonella poison from them years ago. Would never eat there again

  25. bethied says:

    Oh dear god. This may explain that awful lingering “flu” I battled in May. Ugh. No more Taco Bell for me.