McDonald’s Salads Linked to Parasite Outbreak

The fast food giant has pulled salad from 3,000 stores in the Midwest and beyond after a Cyclospora outbreak was confirmed.

If you’re craving a salad from McDonald’s, you may just have to wait. The popular fast food chain is taking it off the menu of 3,000 locations following reports that more than 60 customers became ill after eating the menu item. The people have all come down with an intestinal illness caused by a parasite called Cyclospora. If that word sounds familiar, it’s because in June, Del Monte vegetable trays were recalled from Midwestern grocery stores after a similar outbreak.

The states affected

The FDA reports that Cyclospora-related illness has been confirmed in seven states (primarily Illinois and Iowa), but McDonald’s is pulling salads from 14 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we voluntarily stopped selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier,” McDonald’s said in a statement. The chain has also removed the lettuce blend from distribution centers that serve those seven states and beyond.

Experts are not linking this outbreak to the Del Monte recall at this time.

What to do if you think you have a Cyclospora infection

If you live in one of the states above and ate a McDonald’s salad within the last week, watch for stomach flu-like symptoms, including diarrhea, stomach discomfort and a low-grade fever. The CDC reports that because “Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting something—such as food or water…it is unlikely that Cyclospora is passed directly from one person to another.”

Therefore, only people who ate contaminated salad need to watch for symptoms. If these symptoms arise, please call your health care professional. There is no vaccine for the infection, but it can be easily treated with a round of antibiotics.

Do you know the signs of food poisoning?

How to protect your family from Cyclospora infections

As always, keeping up with recalls and knowing food safety rules are the best ways to prevent the spread of any food-borne illness. Wash fresh vegetables properly, cook foods thoroughly before eating them and make sure your family practices good hand-washing habits, and you’ll be well on your way.

Next, read up on things food-poisoning experts never eat.

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Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.
Ellie Martin Cliffe
Now a deputy editor at Taste of Home, Ellie has been writing about food and parenting for the last decade. When she isn't at TOH HQ, she's likely trying gluten- and dairy-free recipes, canning whatever's in season, listening to anything with a fiddle, or playing Uno with her family.