McDonald’s pulls salads from 3,000 restaurants after parasite sickens dozens

A McDonald's apple walnut salad

A McDonald's apple walnut salad

Health departments in those states believe the parasite is connected to the lettuce in McDonald's salads. There are two reported hospitalizations and no deaths.

McDonald's salads may be to blame for a parasitic illness outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in IL and Iowa, according to public health officials.

The states are Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri.

Officials with the fast-food restaurant chain said in a statement Friday that the salads have been removed from "impacted restaurants", mainly in the Midwest, "out of an abundance of caution" until it can find a new supplier.

"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", FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. According to the Wall Street Journal, one-fourth of the 90 cases of cyclosporiasis reported in IL have been linked to McDonald's salads, while 15 cases have been linked to the salads in Iowa. In Minnesota, there have been several cases and in Iowa there have been 15.

The parasite is called cyclospora.

Cyclospora gives people "pretty bad diarrhea that lasts quite a long time", and can also cause fatigue and a loss of appetite. "Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted".

"McDonald's is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control", McDonald's said in the statement, adding that it is cooperating with public health officials investigating the outbreak.

People can get infected with the cyclosporiasis parasite by eating food or drinking liquids that have been contaminating with the bacteria, the CDC says on its website.

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