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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Oklahoma’s OK – it outs Taco Bell in 10 State Salmonella Outbreak

Oklahoma State Department of Health
Acute Disease Service 

Summary of Supplemental Questionnaire Responses Specific to
Taco Bell Exposure of Oklahoma Outbreak-associated Cases
Multistate Salmonella Enteritidis Outbreak Investigation
November 2011 – January 2012 

Summary Demographic information

• 16 cases in 5 Oklahoma counties – Cleveland (10), Bryan (2), Lincoln (2), Pottawatomie (1), and Greer (1)

• Onset date range: 10/21/2011 – 11/18/2011 – 1 onset date unknown but believes around Thanksgiving

• Hospitalizations: 4

• Gender distribution: 10 (63%) females and 6 (37%) males

• Age range: 5 to 78 years (median 23 years)

Taco Bell exposure summary of Oklahoma cases from supplemental case-control questionnaire responses

• Total Oklahoma cases: 16

• Total interviewed: 12/16 (4 refused or were lost-to-follow-up)

• Consumed food from Taco Bell: 8/11

Like I said to MSNBC:

But food safety advocates had been putting pressure on state and federal agencies to reveal the name of firms involved in outbreaks in this case — and those in the future.

“I think it just proves the point that it is always better to be transparent,” said Bill Marler, a Seattle food safety lawyer who used his blog to lobby vigorously for the release of the name. “Taco Bell could have looked like a hero by coming out and saying that it was a supplier problem and they are going to work hard to make sure it never happens again.”

And, Taco Bell’s response:

In response Taco Bell said in a statement that investigators found that some of the people who became ill ate at Taco Bell, while others did not. “They believe that the problem likely occurred at the supplier level before it was delivered to any restaurant or food outlet. We take food quality and safety very seriously,” Taco Bell said.

  • Paul F Schwarz

    Now that Taco Bell is named when will MSNBC focus on the Jensen Farms cantaloupe listeria fiasco? Maybe MSNBC can ask congress why no hearings are scheduled!

  • Mrs. Mudder

    Hey Bill,
    WOW! your site and your steadfast principals are leverage for our
    BIG problem out here in the food business. Someone is seeing and change is coming. Thanks, Bill for your help.
    Respectively,
    Mrs. Mudder

  • Foody

    This is really unfortunate for Taco Bell. First they never identified the vehicle, cheese, produce, meat etc..It’s hard to fix something that is a ghost.
    Next, there were cases where the people did not eat at Taco Bell, how is that? I’m not convinced Taco Bell had an issue.
    Finally, there is no kill step for produce, until consumers advocate existing technologies like irradiation and others, this can and will continue to happen in the fresh produce industry. Irradiation is a safe technology, i challenge all consumers to research and embrace it. Speak out that it’s a technology you will endorse to make the food supply safe. It’s already being used on spices. Do people realize that? You are eating irradiated spices every day and it makes your food supply safer.