It appears a toxic bacteria was the source of over 160 cases of illness for Mighty Taco customers earlier this month. Between September 30th and October 6th, customers reported getting sick after eating at one of the restaurants in the popular, locally-based chain.

An investigation zeroed in on a batch of refried beans as the possible cause. Samples were sent to the NYS Health Department laboratory in Wadsworth NY for testing.

In a statement late this afternoon, NYS Health Department spokesman JP O'Hare says the department "has identified Bacillus cereus in patient clinical specimens, as well as from refried beans collected from Mighty Taco restaurants, as part of an investigation into gastrointestinal illness among several patrons of certain Mighty Taco restaurants. Bacillus cereus is a type of bacteria that produces a toxin that causes illness, usually resulting in vomiting within 30 minutes to 6 hours after eating contaminated food. This is consistent with the symptoms described by those who became ill shortly after eating at Mighty Taco."

O'Hare notes the investigation is continuing and more laboratory tests are still to be done. He also says the US Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating the supplier of those refried ban, Pellegrino Food Products of Warren, Pennsylvania.

2 On-Your-Side could find no history of any kind of food safety problems at Pellegrino. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provided the summary of the last two inspection it had done at the plant this year and last year. The company passed both inspections.