McDonald's salads linked to parasitic illness outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people

McDonalds/FacbookMcDonald’s salads have been linked to a parasitic illness outbreak.
  • Health officials have identified McDonald’s salads as the possible source of a parasitic illness outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people.
  • The illness, caused by the cyclospora parasite, can last months. It causes symptoms such as diarrhoea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements.
  • Illinois officials said one quarter of patients with the parasitic illness had eaten a McDonald’s salad before their symptoms appeared.
  • McDonald’s is removing salads from 3,000 locations that may have been affected by the outbreak.

Health officials say McDonald’s salads may be the source of a parasitic illness outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in Iowa and Illinois.

Illinois has reported 90 cases of the illness since mid-May, and Iowa has reported 15 cases since late June.

The illness, caused by the cyclospora parasite, causes symptoms such as diarrhoea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, as well as loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, and fatigue, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms can include vomiting, headache, fever, and body aches.

Symptoms can begin more than a week after consuming food contaminated with the parasite, and the illness can last a few days up to several months.

Illinois officials said one quarter of patients with the parasitic illness had eaten a McDonald’s salad before their symptoms appeared.

But health officials are still investigating other causes.

“Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald’s restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” said Nirav D. Shah, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “If you ate a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed diarrhoea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”

McDonald’s is removing salads from 3,000 restaurants that may have been impacted by the outbreak.

“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. We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centres – which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest,” it said in a statement to Nation’s Restaurant News.

It continued: “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.”

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.