Parasite found in McDonald's salads sickens nearly 400 people, FDA says


McDonald's released a statement on July 13 saying they had been in contact with public health officials notifying them about an increase in Cyclospora infections in Iowa and IL. Of those stricken, 16 were hospitalized. A week later, that number jumped to 163 sick individuals in 10 states, with three hospitalizations. It can take people up to a week after ingesting the contaminated food to start feeling symptoms, and many cyclospora infections take weeks to manifest.

On July 26, the FDA's investigation of Fresh Express, a salad mix retailer, they found Cyclospora in an unused package of salad mix containing romaine lettuce and carrots that was distributed to McDonald's.

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The FDA noted that ill patients from Connecticut, Tennessee and Virginia purchased salads while traveling in IL, and that the Florida patient purchased a salad in Kentucky.

Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and body aches.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously linked 163 "laboratory-confirmed" cases of cyclosporiasis across 10 states to the McDonald's salads.

The illness can last a few days to a few months, and patients might feel better but then get worse again.

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Fresh Express, which is based in Salinas, Calif., tracked the tainted lettuce from the same facility and lot number to Caito Foods, which is now involved in another recall that affected salads and wraps sold at Trader Joe's, Walgreens and Kroger, The LA Times reported. McDonald's, based in Chicago's West Loop, said in July that it had removed the mix from impacted restaurants.