McDonald's salads have caused over 163 people in 10 different states to become gravely ill. According to USA Today, three victims have been hospitalized. The cause of the outbreak is the Cyclospora parasite, which is "transmitted in foods contaminated with fecal matter," according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has also stated that there may be more people affected with Cyclosporiasis, the Cyclospora parasite, as individuals who may have eaten the salad after early June may not have experienced or reported the symptoms of Cyclosporiasis yet.
Now, McDonalds has stopped selling their salads in over 3,000 restaurants in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri. According to Newsweek, citizens of Illinois have been affected the most; 110 people report eating a McDonald's salad before becoming ill, and there have been 260 people affected with Cyclosporiasis in that state in total.
McDonald's now says it is currently looking for a new salad provider.
"We have removed lettuce blend provided by Fresh Express' Streamwood, Illinois, facility. Many restaurants already have a new lettuce blend supply, while we expect all identified restaurants will have new supply in the next few days," the company said in a statement regarding the outbreak. The company added that they were dedicated to providing their customers with the highest quality food, and plan to assist health officials during their investigation.
As a response to McDonald's statement, Fresh Express released their own.
"At this time, despite the intensive investigation by federal authorities and state health agencies around the country, no source has yet been named for this outbreak. The decision by McDonald's to change suppliers of certain components should in no way suggest that Fresh Express is implicated as a source."
The FDA reports that the outbreak started around May 1. Those affected by the virus have been mostly females between the ages of 16 and 87. Though there have been several hospitalizations, there have been no deaths reported.
Victims of Cyclosporiasis usually begin to experience symptoms within a week, according to the CDC. Since Cyclosporiasis affects the intestines, people may experience diarrhea that can be watery or explosive, stomach cramps, nausea and/or vomiting. Additionally, they are often met with headaches, fevers, and other "flu-like symptoms." When left untreated, symptoms of Cyclosporiasis can last over a month.
The CDC reports that, at the moment, there is no correlation between the Cyclosporiasis outbreak at McDonald's and the ongoing outbreak of vegetable trays made by Del Monte. Del Monte has now recalled all of their vegetable trays.