- Health officials have identified McDonald’s salads as the possible source of a parasitic illness outbreak that has sickened 163 people across 10 states.
- The illness, caused by the cyclospora parasite, can last months. It causes symptoms such as diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements.
- McDonald’s is removing salads from 3,000 locations that may have been affected by the outbreak.
Health officials say McDonald’s salads may be the source of a parasitic illness outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people across the United States.
According to the FDA, 163 cases have been reported across 10 states: Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
The illness, caused by the cyclospora parasite, causes symptoms such as diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, as well as loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, and fatigue, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms can include vomiting, headache, fever, and body aches.
Symptoms can begin more than a week after consuming food contaminated with the parasite, and the illness can last a few days up to several months.
The FDA is working with McDonald’s to identify which ingredients in the salad may be making customers sick and will then trace these ingredients through the supply chain.
McDonald’s is removing salads from 3,000 restaurants that may have been impacted by the outbreak.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce-blend supplier. We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers – which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest,” it said in a statement to Nation’s Restaurant News.
It continued: “McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control. We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate.”