McDonald’s pulls salads from 3,000 restaurants after parasite sickens dozens

Ivan Schwartz
July 15, 2018

McDonalds has stopped serving salads at 3,000 restaurants in 14 states following reports linking the dishes to an outbreak of intestinal parasites.

Two people have been hospitalized and no deaths are linked to the outbreak.

Health officials in IL and Iowa say they've identified roughly 100 combined cases of cyclosporiasis apparently linked to consuming McDonald's salads.

Cases of people infected by the Cyclospora parasite, believed to have originated from ingesting lettuce in McDonald's salads, have spread to another four states-Wisconsin, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 61 people across seven states have become ill.

The Food and Drug Administration is working with McDonald's to identify the salad ingredients making people sick and trace them through the supply chain.

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The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is investigating with local public health agencies across Missouri 7 cases of cyclosporiasis that appear to be linked to eating McDonald's salads. In Minnesota, there have been several cases and in Iowa there have been 15.

McDonald's added that they are "committed to the highest standards of food safety" and are "closely monitoring this situation".

The most common symptom is watery diarrhea.

Cyclospora is an intestinal illness often associated with developing countries that often occurs as a result of eating contaminated fresh produce.

Officials with the fast-food restaurant chain said in a statement Friday that the salads have been removed from "impacted restaurants", mainly in the Midwest, "out of an abundance of caution" until it can find a new supplier. The Illinois Department of Public Health said it had recorded about 90 cases since mid-May, and the Iowa Department of Public Health said it had recorded 15 cases since late June. While not everyone experiences side-effects, symptoms include loss of appetite, loose bowel movements, vomiting, fever and other flu-like symptoms.

The parasite is called cyclospora.

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