McDonald’s Pulls Salads From Thousands of Restaurants as Parasite Outbreak Escalates

A McDonald's apple walnut salad

A McDonald's apple walnut salad. Richard Lautens—Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Iowa and IL health departments said on Thursday that they were investigating Cyclospora infections linked to salads at McDonald's restaurants. At least one of the affected restaurants is in each of the following states: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri. That way, the fast food restaurant can trace those ingredients to their supplier.

McDonalds has stopped serving salads at 3,000 restaurants in 14 states following reports linking the dishes to an outbreak of intestinal parasites.

In Missouri, there have been seven cases that may be connected to the McDonald's salads.

Earlier this week, the IL and Iowa health departments said they were investigating outbreaks of a parasite that causes intestinal illness and might be linked to McDonald's salads.

Illinois' health department said Thursday that it confirmed about 90 cases of cyclosporiasis since mid-May.

The parasite, Cyclospora cayetanensis, infects the small intestine, typically causing watery diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements.

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Cyclospora gives people "pretty bad diarrhea that lasts quite a long time", and can also cause fatigue and a loss of appetite.

People often recover without medical intervention, according to the CDC, but antibiotics are also used to treat the condition.

"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.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we chose to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier", the email said.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we chose to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier", McDonald's said in a statement released Friday.

The parasite is called cyclospora.

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