Daily first E. coli-related lawsuit filed against Taco Bell

GARDEN CITY N.J. The family of an 11-year-old boy sickened with E. coli symptoms after eating three tacos at a Taco Bell restaurant in Riverhead, Long Island, N.Y. has filed a lawsuit against Taco Bell, charging the 5,800-unit quickservice Mexican chain with negligence. The boy ate the suspect tacos Nov. 24, was hospitalized Nov. 28 and released Nov. 29, according to a published report.

Spokesmen for Taco Bell could not immediately be reached for comment. About 100 customers of Taco Bell restaurants in five Eastern states have reported E. coli symptoms in the past few weeks, and at least 46 of them tested positive for E. coli 0157:H7, a potent strain of the bacteria.

Federal and state investigative agencies are testing samples of all non-meat food products from the restaurants in question, including green onions. Three samples of unopened packages of green onions tested by an independent laboratory tested positive for E. coli, leading Taco Bell to voluntarily discard all green onions from all of its restaurants.

The non-meat items being tested include cheeses, tomatoes, yellow onions, cilantro and lettuce.