Why is the public left to guess or hope for a reporter (or lawyer) to spill the beans (would they be refried)?

After the CDC published its report a few days ago on 68 Salmonella illnesses linked to “Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain, Restaurant Chain A,” it got me thinking and looking for other examples of unnamed restaurants poisoning people. I did find two 2010 Salmonella outbreaks (180 sick) linked to “Mexican-style fast food Restaurant Chain A.” Taco Bell was later implicated as the mystery restaurant.

I was then reminded that in mid-November 1999, a cluster of children with infections caused by the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 occurred in several states. Case-control studies found an association between illness and eating beef tacos (undercooked) at Taco Bell restaurants. A traceback investigation implicated a beef supplier; a farm investigation was not possible because of inadequate record keeping by the supplier. A total of 14 cases (perhaps as many as 21) of E. coli O157:H7 infections with matching PFGE patterns were identified. The patients resided in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Five (36 percent) were hospitalized and three (21 percent) had the hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

San Francisco media covered the story in 1999 and named Taco Bell as the source. However, the CDC in a publication noted the outbreak, but did not name the restaurant. Taco Bell also remained unnamed by the California Department of Health in a 2004 publication – a retrospective five-year look at foodborne outbreaks.

Then, a Major Article in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Disease was published in 2004: “A Multistate Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infection Linked to Consumption of Beef Tacos at a Fast-Food Restaurant Chain.” And, once again the reader was left with only “a national Mexican-style fast-food restaurant chain” as the source of three customers near death experiences.

My thought is that consumers have a right to know who sickened them specifically and the general public has the same right to have the information to make choices of where they spend their money.

Accurate knowledge allows consumers to make informed decisions in a free market economy. Perhaps if outbreak investigators realized that their work is important and trusted by the public, they would understand that the public could be trusted with the facts.

So, help me here, whats the reason for not naming names?  And, given that Taco Bell was linked to a 2006 E. coli outbreak that sickened 78, and the below video, are health officials now really worried about bad public relations?

And, what if it is Taco TIme or Taco whomever?