Lettuce Tied to Taco Bell Outbreak

Washington (AP) -- Federal health officials say lettuce is the most likely source of an outbreak of E. Coli at Taco Bell restaurants in five states.

Taco Bell initially said that contaminated green onions were behind the food poisoning cases, but follow-up government testing failed to confirm that.

Federal health officials now say interviews with patients and other work has led them to believe that lettuce is to blame. Investigators had considered cheddar cheese and ground beef as well. An official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says experts are still studying the outbreak.

As of Wednesday, the CDC had confirmed 71 E. Coli cases in five states, primarily New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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