McDonalds is pulling their salads from the menu. At least 61 people in seven states have experienced a sickness from an outbreak of Cyclospora according to a federal health officials statement on Friday.
The fast-food chain has stopped selling the salads, but there is fear that more people may become sick, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
At least 14 states may have served the contaminated salads at the fast food giant according to the CDC and FDA said.
“We understand how important it is to quickly identify the cause of this foodborne outbreak to help reduce additional illness and we’re working closely with our colleagues at CDC and state partners to get more answers,” FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.
“It’s early in the investigation, but we are taking steps now to help ensure consumers know about the potentially contaminated product so that they can better protect themselves or seek treatment, especially if they have signs or symptoms of a Cyclospora infection.”
Cyclospora is an unusual parasite and it’s not easily removed by washing produce. Doctors may not be on the lookout for it as a cause of food poisoning, the FDA said.
“Most people infected with Cyclospora develop 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,” the FDA said.
Symptoms may go away and come back.
“As part of this emerging investigation, the FDA is actively working with McDonald’s to identify the common ingredients in the salads identified by those who became sick and to trace back those ingredients through the supply chain,” the FDA said.
Cases have been reported in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin, the FDA said.
But contaminated salads at McDonalds may have been sold in 3,000 outlets in 14 states, including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota and Montana.
“Past cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the U.S. have been linked to raspberries, basil, cilantro, snow peas and mesclun lettuce,” the FDA aid.
“Although it’s unknown exactly how food and water become infected with Cyclospora, people should be aware that rinsing or washing food is not likely to remove it.”