Mighty Taco outbreak pathogen revealed; John McEnroe was wrong

Almost every time someone mentions B. cereus to me I respond with ‘you cannot B. cereus’ as an homage to tennis legend and tantrum thrower John McEnroe’s excellent autobiography. I don’t know if anyone gets the joke.

WGRZ news reports that over 160 Mighty Taco patrons were ill because of B. cereus in refried beans.mte4mdazndewnja3nzy5mtay

The bacteria Bacillus cereus was found in patient clinical specimens and in samples of refried beans from Mighty Taco restaurants, according to a statement from the DOH released Monday.

Bacillus cereus usually causes vomiting within 30 minutes to 6 hours after eating contaminated food, the department says, which is consistent with symptoms described by those who ate at Mighty Taco.

The FDA is looking into the refried beans supplier, Pellegrino Food Products in Warren, Pennsylvania.


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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.