HILLSIDE, N.J. (AP) All but four of Taco Bell's 86 New Jersey restaurants were back in business Tuesday even as the fast-food chain and health officials across the country sought what caused an outbreak of E. coli that sickened scores of customers in four states.
The four restaurants, three in Union County and one in Salem County, remained closed because they were awaiting deliveries of new food after having discarded all their old foodstocks, Taco Bell spokesman Will Bortz said.
``All they're doing is waiting for deliveries, and then they'll be open as well,'' he said.
Taco Bells in Hillside, Union and Springfield remained closed Tuesday, along with one in Pennsville in Salem County.
Two other restaurants in Delaware were also awaiting restocking, Bortz said.
All Taco Bell restaurants in New York remained open.
The reopening in New Jersey occurred even as federal health officials acknowledge they do not know what caused the outbreak of the intestinal illness in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. A person from South Carolina who developed the illness was determined to have eaten at a Taco Bell in Pennsylvania.
Green onions, or scallions, were initially thought to have been to blame for the outbreak, although federal testing has failed to confirm that.
Nonetheless, ``out of an abundance of caution,'' Taco Bell president Greg Creed said the company has switched its produce supplier from Ready Pac of Irwindale, Calif., which has a processing center in Florence, N.J., to Taylor Farms of Salinas, Calif.
As of Monday, the state health department was investigating 73 suspected or confirmed cases of E. coli in New Jersey. Updated figures were not immediately available Tuesday afternoon.