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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Is it really safe to buy a taco?

According to reporter Dave Franzman of KCRG-TV ABC 9 Cedar Rapids, Iowa:

Taco Bell, Taco John’s Tell Public It is Safe to Come Back

Two national Mexican fast food chains are working to reassure the public after recent E. coli outbreaks.  Taco Bell placed full page newspaper ads telling consumers the food is safe. And Taco John’s CEO will come to Iowa on Tuesday to talk about what happened at a Cedar Falls restaurant.  Tuesday afternoon, he’ll travel to Cedar Falls to discuss test results and new food safety practices.  Some franchise owners plan to attend as well.  Taco John’s also begins running full page newspaper ads reassuring consumers on Tuesday.

But is it really safe?  Can the CEO’s really assure the public that all of the ingredients in a Taco are safe to consume?  The answer is no.  I think the CEO’s are more concerned about slumping sales that consumer safety.  Unfortunately, E. coli outbreaks associated with produce, specifically the “pre-washed” and “ready-to-eat” lettuce, and to a lesser degree, spinach are by no means a new phenomenon. There were over 200 sickened, dozens with kidney failure, and at least 4 deaths attributed to eating E. coli contaminated spinach this past September. A year earlier, in September 2005, over two dozen were sickened, including one young girl who suffered acute kidney failure after eating Dole bagged lettuce in three states. In October 2003, 13 residents of a California retirement center were sickened and 2 died after eating E. coli-contaminated “pre-washed” spinach. In September 2003, nearly 40 patrons of a California restaurant chain became ill after eating salads prepared with bagged, “pre-washed” lettuce. In July 2002, over 50 young women were stricken with E. coli at a dance camp after eating “pre-washed” lettuce, leaving several hospitalized and one with life-long kidney damage. The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that, of 225 food-poisoning outbreaks from 1990 to 1998, nearly 20 percent were linked to fresh fruits, vegetables, or salads. FDA records report over 20 outbreaks related to fresh leafy produce in the last 10 years with nearly 1,000 sickened.  So, is it really safe to go back in the water?

We will file another lawsuit against Taco John’s today in Federal Court in Iowa on behalf of a woman sickened while dining at its restaurant.  She was hospitalized for nearly a week.  We continue to investigate nearly a dozen other Taco John’s related illnesses in both Iowa and Minnesota.  We have also filed two suits against Taco Bell, one in New York and the other in Pennsylvania Federal Courts, and are investigating two dozen more from several Northeast States, including two cases of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

See an earlier post on the CEO’s of Taco Bell and Taco John’s – Would you buy a taco from this man?

E. coli cases we have done – Marler news – E. coli