It is believed that at least 150 people in 21 states have suffered salmonella poisoning after eating at Taco Bell restaurants, and at least one food poisoning lawsuit has already been filed against the Mexican fast food chain.
The Taco Bell outbreak is believed to have started around April 30 and probably ended about July 19. According to investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least two different strains of Salmonella have been linked to people who ate at Taco Bell during that time period, but they have been unable to identify exactly which products at the restaurant were contaminated.
Late last week the first Taco Bell food poisoning lawsuit to spring from the outbreak was filed by Jo Ann Smith in Franklin County Circuit Court in Kentucky. The complaint names Yum! Brands, Taco Bell’s parent company, as a defendant. Smith’s lawsuit claims that she bought food from Taco Bell in Frankfort, Kentucky on May 24, and woke up ill on May 26. Over the next several days her condition worsened until she was admitted to a local hospital, where she was diagnosed with Salmonella poisoning, dehydration and anemia.
Investigators were able to track the outbreak because the two strains, Salmonella Hartford and Salmonella Baildon, are rarely seen in the U.S. Investigators say that the outbreak salmonella from Taco Bell has most likely run its course, but they are still investigating.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include severe abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea, bloody diarrhea and fever, which usually begin to appear within 12 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated food. Young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk from severe injuries, hospitalization and death due to food poisoning complications, but on rare occasions, healthy adults are also severely infected when salmonella spreads from the intestines to other parts of the body.