You Don't Poop Where You Eat
December 7, 2006 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Taco Bell E. Coli Out break from... green onions? This is the second major outbreak of E. Coli from vegetables this year. Where does E. Coli come from? "One of the root words of the family's scientific name, "enteric", refers to the intestine, and is often used synonymously with 'fecal'."
posted by SansPoint (33 comments total)

 
Still, one of soul music's greatest instrumentals.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:06 AM on December 7, 2006 [2 favorites]


I always figured Booker T & the MG's were behind this.
posted by jonmc at 7:13 AM on December 7, 2006


booker t is hot even if he gives me explosive diarrhea.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 7:13 AM on December 7, 2006


Taco Bell recently got rid of trans fats, this will overshadow it, even though trans fats cause a lot more damage.
posted by stbalbach at 7:15 AM on December 7, 2006


Well people don't go to Taco Bell to give their digestive systems a break, do they? I always thought the purpose of that chain was that it would let you experience Montezuma's Revenge without leaving the comfort of your home.
posted by clevershark at 7:17 AM on December 7, 2006


Indeed, clevershark. After being doubled over for most of the afternoon following my last Taco Bell experience, I have instituted a "No Taco Bell Ever Ever Ever Again" policy that has been a great success.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:24 AM on December 7, 2006


I remember there was another Tex-Mex chain that killed a few people with tainted green onions a few years back. Around Philadelphia, I think. Remind me?
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:25 AM on December 7, 2006


Chi Chi's? It had a Hepatisis outbreak.
posted by daninnj at 7:31 AM on December 7, 2006


Faint of Butt: I think you're thinking of the hepatitis outbreak at Chi-Chi's restaurants a few years ago.
posted by amro at 7:31 AM on December 7, 2006


And its already been traced back to a California farm. Luckily for me, I don't eat fast food anymore, or I haven't for almost four months (except for that one moment of weakness earlier this week and that was Wendy's anyway because I like fingers in my chili).
posted by fenriq at 7:34 AM on December 7, 2006


That's it, thanks.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:34 AM on December 7, 2006


Moral of the story: Stop eating vegetables.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:39 AM on December 7, 2006


Well sure clevershark, but we taco bell fans expect our dysentery and/or cholera to come from tainted meat. This whole vegetable thing has the stink of heavy-duty O. Henry class irony.
posted by condour75 at 7:51 AM on December 7, 2006


Don't eat raw vegetables at fast food joints then. I've never had a McDonald's salad.
posted by davy at 7:55 AM on December 7, 2006


Moral of the story: don't eat poop.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:56 AM on December 7, 2006


:9
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 7:58 AM on December 7, 2006


Dang. I likes me Taco Bell hard-shelled tacos supreme. Or should I say, liked. Sigh. I hate feeling like I'm rolling the dice every time I want to pig out.
posted by pax digita at 8:01 AM on December 7, 2006


Irrigation.

Take a look at what's going on along the Colorado River, and remember that most of our vegetables are grown on huge, unsustainable, highly concentrated, monocultured farms that rely heavily on such irrigation, and it's not hard to figure out why everything has E. coli all of a sudden. This isn't a question of cleaning your vegetables; this is being absorbed into the plant itself. This is the direct result of our reliance on an industrial agricultural system.
posted by jefgodesky at 8:10 AM on December 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Mmmmm... intestinal bacterial goodness. Man, I haven't cleaned out the pipes in years! I need to find me a Taco Bell.
posted by antifuse at 8:17 AM on December 7, 2006


My best friend just got food poisoning from a Taco Bell.... Yikes!
posted by malaprohibita at 8:17 AM on December 7, 2006


I used to like the occasional cheap midnight eats at the Bell. And then some years back something in the taste just sorta changed. I couldn’t even stomach a basic bean burrito anymore. Around that time I heard that corn for non-human consumption was found in the tortillas, and other such things. I just stopped eating the stuff at all. Good timing I s’pose.
We should be an animal with sense enough to disregard our own feces (to quote Jules).
posted by Smedleyman at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2006


Eating at a fast food chain or not doesn't make much of a difference when the source of the contamination is the fact that nearly all of the nation's vegetables are grown in the same concentrated area, fed by the same dirty irrigation water.
posted by jefgodesky at 8:35 AM on December 7, 2006


Odd.

Infections propagated by restaurant food are obviously more notorious because a greater number of people are likely to be exposed to the tainted source, but is the restaurant supply chain objectively less secure than the grocery chain?
posted by The Confessor at 8:35 AM on December 7, 2006


There was a problem with e.coli in green onions at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant near Pittsburgh, PA, in 2003.

And the problem isn't the restaurant or the grocery store, it's the farm. There are cows nearby. Cows poop.

Sometimes we see these outbreaks because of accidental contamination, or maybe because contaminated poop is used as fertilizer (as noted in jefgodesky's rather disturbing link)
posted by selfmedicating at 8:46 AM on December 7, 2006


I congratulate Taco Bell on their cute tailwind marketing tie-in to the "Fast Food Nation" movie!
posted by hermitosis at 8:52 AM on December 7, 2006


Last night I raided the refrigerator for two carrots and a celery stalk -- that I was too tired and hungry to wash first. Should I now consider this act appallingly stupid or even an unconscious suicide attempt?

By the way, about 10 years ago I read in a syndicated column, whose name and byline I can't recall now or I'd simply link to it, that that covering the surface of the water with a layer or two of toilet paper cuts down on splashback, a phenomenon I find really yucky (especially when I've already pissed into it). There's just something about knowing I have smelly bacteria on the outside of my butt, on the skin of my buttcheeks themselves, that bothers me to think about; sometimes I miss my childhood days when I'd squat in somebody's bushes and squeeze out a loaf into their mulch, wiping my ass with whatever came to hand (including in one case a sock I then told my mother I'd lost), because it felt so much cleaner that way, cleaner and more natural too like a creature of the forest (perhaps one of what the World Book Encyclopedia called "Woodland Indians" which after all comprises about one-eighth of my genetic material). Now I realize that according to Leviticus I should have carried a garden trowel with which to bury my fecal matter, but in my own defense I must say that I had but six years at the time and my theological studies had not yet finished with the Miracle of the Loaves And Fishes.

(Were I to go fuck myself I'd want an enema and a shower first, and plenty of hand sanitizer.)
posted by davy at 9:02 AM on December 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


"MeTa."
posted by davy at 9:05 AM on December 7, 2006


Other uses of green onions in 'Mexican'-type fast-food and family-style restaurants.
posted by ardgedee at 9:22 AM on December 7, 2006


"My friends all got food poisoning at Taco Bell, and all I got was this lousy vomit-soaked T-Shirt"
posted by blue_beetle at 11:11 AM on December 7, 2006


Someone gets a raving case of diarrhea from eating a $.89 taco. Film at 11.
posted by ninjew at 11:36 AM on December 7, 2006


The wife and I figured that Taco Bells are going to be the cleanest restaraunt around for the next few weeks. Went there at 3am last night, no gastrointestinal problems so far.
posted by mrbill at 11:43 AM on December 7, 2006


Something that no one seems to ever mention (or explain) in these discussions.

It isn't E. coli that causes these issues. E. coli (for the most part) is not a pathogen. It is a symbiont organism that helps you digest your food, tends to keep less benign organisms from flourishing in your digestive tract and produces vitamin A.

The problem child is the strain O157:H7 which produces a toxin similar to that of Shigella dysenteriae, from which it probably picked up the trick via a plasmid.

The problem, for you and me at least, is that cattle and deer can have a gut full of the stuff and not be bothered. This is why ground beef used to be the most common vector. It has been demonstrated that soil mixed with manure can harbor O157 for the better part of a growing season and that about 13% of cattle, whether grass fed or lot fed, are carriers.

Take home message: As far as E. coli infection goes, it doesn't matter how many times the guy at Taco Bell washes his hands.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:42 PM on December 7, 2006


I blame the Japanese. At least two anime series I have seen refer to the folk remedy of anal insertion of green onions to cure fever. So there you are.
posted by darksasami at 2:36 PM on December 7, 2006


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