Taco Bell linked to nationwide Salmonella outbreaks

Taco Bell has been linked to two Salmonella outbreaks involving two different strains of the bacteria that has sickened more than 150 people in 21 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

In the CDC's new release, the chain is identified as "Mexican-style fast food Restaurant Chain A," but has since been confirmed as Taco Bell. The CDC said both strains -- Salmonella Baildon and Salmonella Hartford -- detected are rare. The illnesses connected to the outbreaks peaked in June, but have yet to be linked to any specific source other than something consumed at the restaurants themselves.

"Among persons eating at Restaurant Chain A, no specific food item or ingredient was found to be associated with illness for either outbreak," the CDC said. "The FDA also sampled and tested produce items and did not find either outbreak strain. As with previous outbreaks in which contaminated produce may be the factor, produce tracebacks present substantial challenges because of the short shelf life of the product and the industry's comingling of product from multiple sources."

The CDC said Taco Bell has been helpful in the investigation, which is being conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and various state health departments.