Investigators Close in On Taco John's E. coli Source

State and federal officials have matched the DNA of a strain of E. coli associated with an outbreak in Taco John's restaurants with samples on dairy farms in California's Central Valley.

The Food and Drug Administration and state officials from California, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, have worked together to come closer to identifying the source of an E. coli outbreak in Taco John's restaurants in late 2006. Investigators have DNA-matched the strain of the bacteria from the outbreak with samples from dairy farms near lettuce growing areas in California's Central Valley.

FDA has no evidence that any lettuce currently being sold is connected with the outbreak. The investigation is ongoing, and investigators have yet to determine whether not - and if so, how - the bacteria from the dairy farms contaminated the lettuce growing area.

An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that in late 2006 sickened about 81 individuals in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, was tied to Taco John's restaurants in those states. No new cases are being reported and the outbreak is considered over.

Minnesota and Iowa health officials previously determined shredded iceberg lettuce as the most likely carrier of the bacteria in the outbreak.

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