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Taco Bell employee photo causes online stir

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(RNN) – If you ever have a hankering for 31 tacos, do everyone a favor and don't take a picture of yourself eating them – especially if you work for, say, Taco Bell.

A picture of an unidentified Taco Bell employee licking a stack of empty taco shells surfaced on the fast food franchise's Facebook page Monday morning. The photo has since been shared nearly 200 times.

It isn't known when the picture was taken or what store location it is from. The photo was posted by Facebook user Jj O'Brien Nolan, whose profile links him to Ridgecrest, CA. He also tagged user Nicholas Kauffman in the post, whose profile lists Ridgecrest as his hometown.

The fate of the compromised shells is also unknown, and they could have been destined for the trash, anyway.

That is of little concern to some who commented on the post, including Sabrina McMurphy, who also is from Ridgecrest.

"It really doesn't matter if the food was to be thrown out or not. He is a representative of Taco Bell while working and in uniform, and by doing this AND posting it online for the world to see he is ruining the reputation of the company," McMurphy wrote.

The man in the picture is wearing a shirt with the Taco Bell logo on the sleeve, and the picture was taken in a utility area of a Taco Bell store, identifiable by an advertisement of the chain's signature Doritos Locos Taco in the background, though the shells being licked are not of that variety.

The company responded on Facebook, saying "We have strict food handling procedures and zero tolerance for any violations. We believe this is a prank and the food was not served to customers. We are conducting an investigation and will be taking swift action against those involved."

Taco Bell is based in Irvine, CA.

Not everyone is upset about the picture, however.

Katrina Forrest, also of Ridgecrest, commented, "I don't know what you guys are talking about. This just makes me hungry."

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