Global & Disaster Medicine

A Cyclospora outbreak potentially associated with McDonald’s salads

FDA

For Immediate Release: July 13, 2018
Media Inquiries: Peter Cassell, 240-402-6537, peter.cassell@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local officials, are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Cyclospora infections. Yesterday, the Illinois and Iowa Health Departments identified McDonald’s salads as being potentially linked to cases of Cyclospora in both states. McDonald’s has voluntarily stopped selling salads at affected restaurants across 14 states and the CDC reports that 61 people across seven states have gotten sick.

“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. There’s still a lot to learn about this outbreak, and we appreciate that McDonald’s has removed salads from the menu in impacted restaurants while we work to determine whether they are in fact linked to the outbreak. We will continue to share our progress toward these goals and provide updates as we learn more,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “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. This is especially important as Cyclospora is not commonly tested for in a health care setting, so consumers who may think they have been exposed should raise their concerns with their health care professional.”

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.

Cyclospora is a parasite that can cause severe intestinal illness, but can be treated. 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.

The following is an update on the FDA’s ongoing investigation into this outbreak.

Outbreak Investigation Summary Advice for Consumers
  • The FDA and CDC are working with state partners to investigate an outbreak of Cyclospora infections possibly associated with McDonald’s salads.
  • CDC reports that 61 people have gotten sick.
  • Two people have been hospitalized.
  • To date, no deaths have been reported.
  • At this time, the cases are spread across seven states: IA, IL, MN, MO, NE, SD, and WI.
  • McDonald’s has identified that potentially contaminated product was distributed to some 3,000 stores to 14 states: IL, IA, IN, WI, MI, OH, MN, NE, SD, MT, ND, KY, WV, and MO.
  • FDA is working with McDonald’s to investigate the ingredients of the salads and trace them through the supply chain.
  • McDonald’s voluntarily stopped selling salads at affected restaurants in their supply chain, so potentially contaminated product should not be available for consumers to purchase.
  • At this time, FDA has no evidence to connect this Cyclospora outbreak to those associated with Del Monte vegetable trays.
  • People who think they might have symptoms of a Cyclospora infection should consult their health care professional.
  • Common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. People may also experience vomiting, body aches, headache, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.
  • Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.
  • If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse). It’s common to feel very tired.
    People with questions about food safety can call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.

The FDA is continuing to investigate this outbreak and will share more information as it becomes available. For more information on this investigation:

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