McDonald’s Salad Recall Announced Over Cyclospora Outbreak

Following reports of cyclospora infections that have sickened dozens of people after eating McDonald’s salads, the fast-food chain has stopped selling salads at more than 3,000 restaurants, due to the risk that the lettuce may be tainted.

The FDA announced a McDonald’s salad recall on July 13, after at least 61 cases of food poisoning were reported among individuals from seven different states after eating lettuce products from McDonalds. At least two of the cases resulted in hospitalization.

In a statement issued on Friday, McDonald’s indicated that it would stop selling the salads in affected restaurants until it could find another lettuce supplier.

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Cyclospora illnesses have been reported in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. However, potentially tainted lettuce was used in salads sold in seven additional states, including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The McDonald’s salads were distributed to more than 3,000 stores across those 14 states. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health 90 cases were reported in Illinois since mid-May. The Iowa Department of Health reported 15 cases since late June.

It is unclear why Illinois and Iowa are reporting different numbers of illness than federal officials, but the agencies are investigating the discrepancy.

FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health officials say they are taking steps to ensure McDonald’s consumers are aware of the multi-state outbreak, especially if they have signs of Cyclospora infection.

Cyclospora is a parasitic infection that can cause severe intestinal illness. It is only spread through human waste, unlike E. coli and salmonella. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Some patients also experience vomiting, body aches, headache, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.

Many people who are infected experience no symptoms and it is rarely lethal. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few months. At times, a person may seemingly become better, only to experience a relapse of the illness.

Cyclospora is not routinely tested for in doctor’s offices or laboratories. Consumers who think they may be ill or have been exposed should talk to their doctor so a specific test can be run.

Federal health officials are working to identify common ingredients in the salads that caused illness and trace those ingredients through the supply chain.

“We understand how important it is to quickly identify the cause of this foodborne outbreak to help reduce additional illness and we’re working closely with our colleagues at CDC and state partners to get more answers,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

Health officials said this Cyclospora outbreak is not linked to the Del Monte Cyclospora outbreak of tainted vegetable trays which sickened more than 200 people.


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