Tainted McDonald’s salads have sickened 163 people across 10 states, and three of those people have been hospitalized, according to an update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC said in its July 19 note that the problem is caused by the Cyclospora parasite transmitted in foods that were likely contaminated with feces.
The illnesses began on or after May 1, 2018, and the people range in age from 16 to 87 years old, the CDC says.
On July 13, The number of cases surged to 61 people in seven states, including 29 in Illinois, 16 in Iowa, seven in Missouri, three in Minnesota, two Nebraska, two in South Dakota, and two in Wisconsin, said the health agency.
No deaths have been reported.
In a statement, McDonald’s said it won’t be selling the salads in light of the outbreak.
“The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald’s restaurants is always our top priority,” the firm said in a statement on July 20. “The additional states identified by the FDA and CDC are among the same states where a week ago we proactively decided to remove our lettuce blend in impacted restaurants and replace it through a different supplier.”
The company said it’s “committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality and we continue to cooperate and support regulatory and public health officials in their investigations.”
On July 13, McDonald’s said it had identified the lettuce blend that was found to be contaminated. “We have removed existing lettuce blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers … which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest,” it said.
The CDC says that Cyclospora cayetanensis “is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope” that “causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.”
According to the agency, “The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about 1 week. Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes 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.”