"Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and team members, and we have strict food-handling procedures and zero tolerance for any violations," a company spokesman said in a statement emailed to CNBC. "When we learned of the situation we immediately contacted this restaurant's leadership, and although we believe it is a prank and the food was not served to customers, we are conducting a full-scale investigation and will be taking swift action against those involved."
The company declined to offer any other details.
The picture was posted to Facebook by an account registered to "Jj O'Brien Nolan," who lists an affiliation to Ridgecrest. It was posted on the Consumerist website after a reader saw it posted on Taco Bell's Facebook page.
The company was infamously cast into the spotlight in 2007 when about two dozen rats took over a KFC/Taco Bell store in New York's Greenwich Village after workers left for the night. Videos of the rodents, clearly visible through the front windows, went viral. The location was shuttered by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and went out of business.