Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bacillus cereus in Refried Beans Responsible for Mighty Taco Outbreak

A NY taco chain has been connected to over 160 people becoming ill with Bacillus cereus toxin.  Cases have occurred in two counties  and it appears that a 'handful' of the Mighty Taco locations have been involved.  The symptoms are nausea and vomiting.

The source of the illness was refried beans.  Bacillus cereus is a sporeforming organism and these spores can survive the cooking process.  If that food is then temperature abused, the organism will sporulate and grow in the food if that food is at elevated temperatures.  As the organism grows to high numbers, it produces a toxin.  So we would expect that the beans would have been temperature abused somewhere along the supply chain, including distribution down through store level.  (This is where the FSMA Sanitary Transport rule becomes important).

Cooked rice is another product often associated with Bacillus cereus related illness.  In a similar fashion, the cooked rice is left at room temperature for an extended period, allowing growth of the organism which produces toxin.

WGRZ Channel 2 News
Toxic Bacteria Identified As Likely Source Of Mighty Taco Outbreak
Steve Brown, WGRZ 8:33 AM. EDT October 19, 2016

BUFFALO - It appears a toxic bacteria was the source of over 160 cases of illness for Mighty Taco customers earlier this month. Between September 30th and October 6th, customers reported getting sick after eating at one of the restaurants in the popular, locally-based chain.

An investigation zeroed in on a batch of refried beans as the possible cause. Samples were sent to the NYS Health Department laboratory in Wadsworth NY for testing.

In a statement late this afternoon, NYS Health Department spokesman JP O'Hare says the department "has identified Bacillus cereus in patient clinical specimens, as well as from refried beans collected from Mighty Taco restaurants, as part of an investigation into gastrointestinal illness among several patrons of certain Mighty Taco restaurants. Bacillus cereus is a type of bacteria that produces a toxin that causes illness, usually resulting in vomiting within 30 minutes to 6 hours after eating contaminated food. This is consistent with the symptoms described by those who became ill shortly after eating at Mighty Taco."

O'Hare notes the investigation is continuing and more laboratory tests are still to be done. He also says the US Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating the supplier of those refried ban, Pellegrino Food Products of Warren, Pennsylvania.

2 On-Your-Side could find no history of any kind of food safety problems at Pellegrino. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provided the summary of the last two inspection it had done at the plant this year and last year. The company passed both inspections.

142 reported illnesses after Mighty Taco's refried beans caused concern in Erie County

Bretton Keenan
2:49 PM, Oct 10, 2016
sick | illness | erie county department of health | mighty taco | refried beans

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) - Mighty Taco got a bad rep last week when customers in Erie County started complaining they got sick after eating at the fast food chain.

According to the Erie County Department of Health, there are now 142 reported illnesses linked to nine different Mighty Taco locations.

The Public Information Officer for the ECDOH, Mary St. Mary, says it is important to note that no one has reported getting sick after the suspected refried beans were removed from the restaurants.

St. Mary says it will still take weeks to see what, if anything, the New York State Department of Health is able to identify as the culprit for the illnesses in the samples.

Erie County Health Dept. says more than 100 illnesses linked to Mighty Taco
By Michael Mroziak • Oct 7, 2016

More than 100 people have reported becoming ill in recent days after eating at Mighty Taco locations. The Erie County Health Department offered an update Friday on the series of illnesses linked to the popular fast food chain.

Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says between September 27 and noon October 6, 104 people reported feeling ill after consuming food from a Mighty Taco location. The symptoms include nausea and vomiting. No individuals who reported falling ill have required hospitalization.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein provides an update Friday on illnesses linked to the Mighty Taco chain.

The suspected source is refried beans. Samples have been forwarded to the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany for testing. County health officials warn that it will be several more days until they know the results.

"This is a very intricate investigation," Dr. Burstein said. "We're not only looking at the microbiology of the possible refried beans, we're also looking at other foods that may possibly be involved."

Mighty Taco, Dr. Burstein said, has been fully cooperative with the investigation.

The company's chief operating officer, Russell Jasulevich, issued the following statement through the Erie County Health Department: "We are appreciative that the investigation is in the competent and professional hands of the experts at the ECDOH. Mighty Taco will continue to cooperate fully in this matter as the wellbeing of our loyal customers is our first concern."

The health commissioner says there may be more people out there who have fallen ill, and investigators would like to hear from those people. Anyone else who has been sickened and believes it is after eating Mighty Taco food should call the the Health Department's Office of Epidemiology and Disease Control at 716-858-7697.

No comments:

Post a Comment