A salmonella food poisoning outbreak that sickened 68 people in 10 states last fall has been linked to Taco Bell.
The Taco Bell food poisoning outbreak was revealed by Oklahoma health officials after the FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declined to give the identity of the outbreak’s source.
At least 16 of the victims hailed from Oklahoma. Texas had 43 cases of food poisoning related to the outbreak; the largest number of any state. Other illnesses were reported in Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio and Tennessee.
Taco Bell had only been identified in government documents as “Restaurant Chain A” until officials in the Oklahoma health department released documents in response to media requests. No food item or specific source of the salmonella contamination was ever identified.
Taco Bell officials have indicated that the problem appears to be at the supplier level and point out that some people affected by the outbreak say they did not eat at Taco Bell.
The CDC has a policy of not releasing a company’s name connected to a food poisoning outbreak if there is no immediate threat to public health. Officials say that by the time the outbreak was identified, it was believed to have run its course.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. For most healthy adults, symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, dehydration or death.