Industry News | December 6, 2006

Taco Bell Voluntarily Removes Green Onions After E. Coli Scare

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Taco Bell Corp. announced today that it has removed green onions at all of its approximately 5,800 restaurants nationwide. The move is strictly a precautionary effort following recent E.coli 0157:H7 outbreaks believed to be linked to several of its restaurants in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The company has been working around the clock with State and County Health Department officials in these three states, along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine the root cause of this issue.

While tests are preliminary and not yet conclusive, three samples of green onions were found to be presumptive positive for E. coli 0157:H7 by an independent testing laboratory engaged by Taco Bell. Upon learning of the presumptive positive results, the company took immediate action by notifying health authorities and its restaurants. State health officials are conducting their own testing and Taco Bell is awaiting final analysis from this ingredient testing.

“In an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to pull all green onions from our restaurants until we know conclusively whether they are the cause of the E.coli outbreak,” said Greg Creed, Taco Bell President. “Taco Bell’s first concern is the health and safety of our customers and employees. We have been working closely with state health authorities to establish the root cause of this issue. Based on the preliminary test results we received late last night, the company did not want to wait and took immediate action to safeguard public health.”

Once conclusive test results are available, the company will immediately provide that information to the public, including commercial supplier information. The company has an established Toll Free Number 1-800 TACO BELL to enable all customers or employees affected by the outbreak, or those having questions or concerns regarding this issue, to contact Taco Bell. Consumers can also visit www.tacobell.com for information.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.