BUFFALO, N.Y. - A week after people reported getting sick from eating at Mighty Taco, the fast-food chain has named the supplier of the refried beans it says were the suspected cause of the illness: Pellegrino Foods in Warren, Pennsylvania.
The company sent this statement in response:
Pellegrino Food Products Co., Inc. stands behind the quality of all of its products and takes food safety issues very seriously. Refried beans are manufactured exclusively for Mighty Taco. To Pellegrino Food’s knowledge, no root cause has yet been determined of the reported illnesses, and we are actively working with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in its investigation.
Mighty Taco has still not said what restaurants were using that batch of beans, and the health department hasn't said exactly what it was that made people sick.
167 people in Erie and Niagara counties reported getting sick after eating at Mighty Taco between September 30th and October 6th, when that batch of beans was pulled. No one has reported getting sick since.
Pellegrino specializes in canned goods, bakery items, and pot pies. It is a family business that started with a family canned pepper recipe in 1946.
2 On Your Side called Pellegrino Thursday afternoon requesting an interview. We also filled out their “contact us” form online. 2 On Your Side Photojournalist Scott May even went to the plant in Warren, Pennsylvania Thursday evening and was told by a worker that there was no one around to talk to us and that we could try again in the morning.
Shortly after that, 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik received the company’s emailed statement.
2 On Your Side also contacted the FDA for information about the investigation and the company. An FDA spokesperson told us Thursday that "If there is an investigation, the FDA is unable to comment or speculate on it. For questions about their equipment use and supply, you would need to reach out directly to the company."
We searched the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s database Thursday and did not find any previous food inspection violations for Pellegrino Foods.
The New York State Health Department told Investigative Reporter Steve Brown Thursday that test results from the batch of refried beans suspected of making all of those people sick would be available soon.