Public health officials are investigating reported incidents of increasing Cyclospora infections that appear to be linked with consumption of McDonald’s salads according to a recent statement offered up by the Iowa Department of Public Health. According to their recent findings on the ongoing matter, similar incidences have been reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health, meaning that this could be a widespread issue concerning the food sourcing on this particular menu item from the fast food franchise.
Illness related to Cyclospora infections can be quite serious, taking months to resolve in some cases even with proper medical treatment. Symptoms can include but are certainly not limited to: frequent and watery diarrhea, loss of weight and appetite, cramping and gas pain, nausea and vomiting, generalized fatigue and a low-grade fever.
The salads in question may have been the point of origin for an infectious outbreak that has made over 15 people in Iowa ill thus far, along with another 90 reported in Illinois according to Business Insider. Illinois public health officials had mentioned that fully one quarter of the patients being treated currently had eaten a McDonald’s salad just before getting sick. Health officials are, however, also investigating other potential 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 the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Nirav D. Shah. “If you ate a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”
McDonald’s is quite obviously concerned about the situation and has agreed to offer their full cooperation in investigating the matter, working with federal officials to determine what further steps may be necessary and to determine whether or not it was in fact their supply chain that is to blame. The fast food titan is currently co-operating particularly with the CDC and FDA according to CNN, in addition to taking some pre-emptive steps in the name of caution.
Some McDonald’s locations, particularly in affected areas, will be removing the salad from their menu options for a temporary period of time until investigations can produce more conclusive results according to an email sent out by the quick-service chain.
“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 centers – which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest.”
McDonald’s is not the only major brand being affected by alleged cyclospora parasite problems, with fruit and produce vendor Del Monte having recently been linked to an outbreak of the same illness – contamination having been linked to their packaged vegetable trays.
A newly developing rash of individuals falling ill in Texas is also being blamed on the parasite, though officials have no answer as to whether or not it actually can be conclusively said to be cyclospora as yet, and may, in fact, be something closer to common food poisoning.