McDonald's Salads 'Likely Linked' to Parasitic Illness That Spread to Another 5 States
The cyclospora parasite was also recently linked to Del Monte Vegetables.
The FDA is investigating McDonald’s after an illness outbreak has been “likely linked” to their salads.
According to a report from the CDC, so far there have been 61 laboratory confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis, a parasitic intestinal infection that was also recently linked to Del Monte Vegetables. The outbreak was first reported in Iowa and Illinois, but has now spread to five more states: Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, they’ve seen an increase in cyclosporiasis. As of July 12, Iowa had identified 15 people who ate McDonald’s salads in late June to early July prior to getting ill, and warned that anyone experiencing stomach-bug-like symptoms should see a doctor.
“Anyone who ate these salads since the middle of June and who developed diarrhea, especially watery diarrhea and fatigue, should see their health care provider and get tested for Cyclospora to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment,” Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said in the statement on the IDPH website.
On July 12, the Illinois Department of Public Health stated they had seen 90 cases of cyclosporiasis, with ¼ of the infected people reporting to have eaten a McDonald’s salad in the days before they began experiencing symptoms.
“The FDA is working with McDonald’s to identify the common ingredients in the salads identified by those who became sick and to trace back those ingredients through the supply chain.”
Despite being the same parasitic illness linked to Del Monte vegetable trays, the FDA notes that they “do not have evidence to suggest that this cluster of illnesses is related.”
“Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald’s restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” Illinois Public Health Department Director Nirav D. Shah said in a statement. “If you ate a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”
Both health departments ensure that the fast food chain is cooperating with their investigations and complying with regulations from the CDC and the FDA.
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“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,” McDonald’s told PEOPLE in a statement. “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.”
“McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control,” the burger chain added. “We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate.”