2006_12_health_lettuce.jpgKids - are you looking for an excuse not to eat your vegetables? You're in luck! After weeks of investigation, health officials have finally decided that lettuce may be responsible for spreading around the E. coli which infested several local Taco Bell restaurants, making ill 71 people in five states. Lettuce was chosen out of a line-up of foods including ground beef, cheese, and green onions (scallions). Building an airtight case around the leafy green, however, will be difficult given almost every Taco Bell product (including the soda, we suspect) contains the stuff. The president of the chain refuses to divulge the name of the lettuce provider but assures customers that a new vendor is being used in the afflicted restaurants.

And AM New York reports that this past incident had nothing to do with a similar outbreak of E. coli at various Taco John restaurants in the Midwest. We've never heard of the chain but think it's definitely an odd name for a Mexican food chain. Has anyone ever eaten there?

So the next time your parents tell you to eat your greens, turn to them and say, "No thanks, I'd rather not have bloody diarrhea." That'll show `em.

Again, E. coli is a common, usually harmless, bacteria found in the bowel of lots of animals. The E. coli O157:H7 strain is a tad more serious, causing bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, blindness, paralysis, and even death. Read all about it on the CDC's website.