A link between McDonald’s salads and a rash of illnesses caused by a parasite has been discovered by the health officials of Illinois and Iowa. About one quarter of 90 people who fell sick since mid-May in Illinois reported eating a McDonald’s salad before falling ill, while an additional 15 cases were reported in Iowa.
The Iowa Department of Public Health said the affected residents who were later confirmed to be suffering from cyclospora infections ate McDonald’s salads in late June or early July.
McDonald’s announced that they are cooperating with the investigators of both the States as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
Post investigation, the fast food giant said that it was voluntarily removing salads from some locations and distribution centers “out of an abundance of caution,” with plans to restock restaurants with salads from other suppliers. About 3,000 restaurants in the Midwest are suspected to have been impacted.
McDonald’s said that it is closely monitoring the situation and cooperating with state and federal health authorities.
The cyclospora cayetanesis parasite is spread by ingesting food or water contaminated with feces. It’s most commonly found in developing countries, but several outbreaks linked to imported produce have reached the U.S. in recent years. Symptoms include watery diarrhea and frequent, explosive bowel movements.
Illinois public health director, Nirav Shah has advised people to contact a health care provider about testing and treatment if they had consumed a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed symptoms like diarrhea and fatigue.