Taco Bell E. coli Food Poisoning

One of the largest recent E. coli outbreaks occurred in 2006 when more than 70 people in Northeast states developed severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting and nausea. Fifty-three of the sickened people had to be hospitalized, and eight of them developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure that can lead to fatal consequences if not diagnosed and treated promptly. An environmental health investigation revealed that all of the E. coli victims had eaten at Taco Bell restaurants where contaminated lettuce was the likely culprit of the E. coli outbreak. In order to hold Taco Bell responsible for financial, physical and emotional damages, several victims filed personal injury lawsuits against the company.

Taco Bell E. coli Outbreak

In November 2006, a large-scale E. coli outbreak occurred in Northeast region of the United States, with more than 70 E. coli cases reported from Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. After laboratory tests confirmed that the cause of the severe diarrhea experienced by the victims was E. coli O157:H7, an investigation was commenced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture. A thorough exploration of the likely source of the E. coli outbreak pointed to the Taco Bell restaurants where all of the E. coli food poisoning victims had eaten within days of becoming sick.

An inspection of several Taco Bell locations revealed that the likely source of the E. coli epidemic was contaminated shredded lettuce. Because the outbreak occurred at several Taco Bell restaurants at the same time, it was concluded that the lettuce was contaminated before it was distributed to the eateries. In order to limit the spread of the E. coli infection, Taco Bell temporarily closed several of its Northeast locations and recalled some of its products.

Taco Bell Lawsuits

While some of the Taco Bell E. coli food poisoning victims recovered without any specific treatment, more than 50 victims developed complications requiring hospitalization. In eight cases, victims experienced hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) — a dangerous condition whereby the toxin produced by the E. coli bacteria enters the bloodstream and destroys the red blood cells. The dead cells are filtered from the body through the kidneys, where they block tiny blood vessels, causing acute kidney failure. If dialysis is not provided, the body is unable to get rid of the waste products it normally filters, leading to acute kidney failure and, in some cases, death.

One of the victims who developed HUS was Ms. Debra Moyer. After dining at a Taco Bell in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, she developed massive diarrhea. Ms. Moyer’s condition soon deteriorated and she had to be hospitalized due to kidney failure. The woman subsequently experienced seizures and fell into a coma that lasted several weeks. While Ms. Moyer eventually recovered, she was left with permanent kidney damage. In order to obtain compensation for her immense physical and psychological suffering, medical expenses and compromised lifestyle, Ms. Moyer filed a personal injury lawsuit against Taco Bell and its parent company, Yum Brands.

Contacting a Skilled E. coli Lawyer

The attorneys of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz are highly experienced in handling complex legal issues arising from E. coli food poisoning cases. If you believe that your diarrheal illness was caused by an E. coli-contaminated food product, you might be entitled to compensation for your financial, physical and psychological damages. Contact the Pensacola, Florida attorneys of AWKO Law at (844) 794-7402 to discuss your case and determine if filing a personal injury lawsuit might be beneficial. They can also help you if you or your loved one has been sickened due to salmonella, campylobacter, fish tapeworm or botulism food poisoning.