Health officials in the US are investigating the multi-state outbreak of cyclosporiasis illnesses after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report said that 163 people in 10 states throughout the US had fallen sick after having salads from McDonald’s restaurants. There have been no reports of anyone dying.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the CDC, state and local officials are working with McDonald’s to identify the common ingredients in the salads identified by those who became sick and are tracing back those ingredients through the supply chain.
In a statement issued by McDonald’s on July 13, the company said it has decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri, until they are able to switch to another salad supplier.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we voluntarily stopped selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier. We have removed existing lettuce blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers – which includes approximately 3,000 of our US restaurants primarily located in the Midwest,” said McDonald’s in a statement. “Of the 3,000 restaurants, at least one is located in the following states: IL, IA, IN, WI, MI, OH, MN, NE, SD, MT, ND, KY, WV, and MO. 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.”
The FDA in its statement said that consumers who have symptoms of cyclosporiasis should contact their healthcare provider to report their symptoms and receive care. The symptoms listed by the FDA include diarrhoea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted.
The FDA also added that some people who are infected with cyclospora do not have any symptoms but if not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse).