An ingredient used in 70 percent of Taco Bell’s products, lettuce, probably caused an E.coli outbreak that sickened dozens of people in the U.S. Northeast, food safety officials said on Wednesday.
The Mexican-style chain, a unit of Yum Brands Inc., said it had taken appropriate steps to make sure its food was safe by switching produce suppliers and added that it was leaving lettuce on its menu.
A total of 71 people have fallen sick because of the E. coli outbreak linked to Taco Bell, the officials said, but no new cases have been reported since December 6.
U.S. health officials said in a conference call before Taco Bell’s that lettuce became the focus of the investigation after a statistical analysis of what people had eaten before they fell ill. Many also ate cheddar cheese and beef, and those supply chains are also being investigated, officials said.
“It would be folly at this point to drop the cheese completely. It’s critical to keep all options open,” said David Acheson, Chief Medical Officer of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Creed said health officials had told the chain that cheese and beef were unlikely to have caused the outbreak because the cheese is pasteurized and because of the way the beef is prepared.
But none of the other ingredients used at Taco Bell appeared to be associated with the outbreak, Acheson said adding no ingredients have tested positive for the E.coli strain blamed for the outbreak
I don’t know how you people out there can eat at fast food restaurants anymore. You cannot trust the food supply anymore and I wonder why that is? Who picks the vegetables? Who works in the food processing plants?