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Hidden Salmonella Outbreak

February 4, 2012

There is late-breaking news on the name of the mysterious restaurant the FDA withheld in the October 2011 Salmonella outbreak. Investigators at Food Safety News and ABC News have revealed it was, in fact, Taco Bell. There were 68 reported cases of illnesses. Taco Bell believes there is no further threat of infection at this time.

Also the subject of a Salmonella outbreak 2 years ago, Taco Bell worked with government agencies including the FDA and CDC to remain anonymous at that time as well. This raises many questions about social responsibility on their part, and also our right to know. You can actually subscribe to daily emails from the FDA for recalls and health advisories, and Taco Bell's outbreak was not among them. It certainly calls into question the ability of our federal agencies to protect the public from large corporations.

Taco Bell is not the only fast food chain to get embroiled in such outbreaks. Beef Products is a supplier of a product made from beef and beef by-products. Despite the fact the meat is treated with caustic cleaning agents like ammonia, the process has not proven to kill Salmonella and E. coli in all instances. In fact, The New York Times reported there were 48 instances of Salmonella outbreaks tied to this company alone since 2005. They are a major supplier of beef products to McDonald's and Burger King, among others.

How do you protect yourself? The quality of produce is a large factor in the spread of foodborne illnesses like Salmonella and E. coli. Your chances of getting sick are significantly greater with conventionally raised produce as opposed to organic produce - and this is confirmed by multiple scientific studies. Just 1 more reason to eat organic!