An outbreak of cyclosporiasis, which the FDA says is “likely linked to salads from McDonald’s restaurants,” caused the fast food giant to yank salads from 3,000 locations over 14 states Friday.
“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 said in a Friday statement on its website. “We are in the process of removing existing lettuce blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers — which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest.”
Those restaurants are in Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia and Missouri. The CDC reports 61 illnesses in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin; two people have been hospitalized.
Though this is mainly in the Midwest, the FDA also says “we do not have evidence to suggest that this cluster of illnesses is related to the ongoing cyclospora outbreak linked to Del Monte vegetable trays,” which also struck Big Ten country this summer. As of Friday’s update from the CDC, 227 people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa have been sickened in that outbreak, seven of whom have been hospitalized.
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“Cyclospora has been a growing risk in imported fresh fruits and vegetables in the U.S.,” food safety attorney Bill Marler said in a Friday email to the Miami Herald. “There have been more reported cases in the last few years then in the two decades that I have been doing food poisoning cases. Clearly, importers, and the retailers that use those products, need to pay much more attention to this nasty parasite if we plan on importing more fruits and vegetables.”
Cyclospora is a microscopic parasite that causes cyclosporiasis. The CDC describes the effects of cyclosporiasis as usually causing “watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include 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. Some people who are infected with cyclospora do not have any symptoms.”