Multistate Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis Linked to McDonald’s Salads – CDC, FDA, USDA

by Kim Boateng Posted on July 17th, 2018

Washington, D.C., USA: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported an outbreak of cyclosporiasis among people who ate salads sold at McDonald’s fast-food chain restaurants. 61 people have been reported sick in seven Midwestern states.

CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and state and local public health partners are investigating an increase in reported cases of Cyclospora infection (cyclosporiasis) in several states.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

On July 12, 2018, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health reported an increase in cases of cyclosporiasis among people who ate salads sold at McDonald’s fast-food chain restaurants. CDC also has received reports of sick people in Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin who ate salads sold at McDonald’s locations in those states.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasite that causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.

McDonald’s is cooperating with the investigation and has voluntarily stopped selling salads in more than 3,000 locations in the following 14 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Because of the proactive actions McDonald’s took to remove the affected salads from the locations in these states, there likely is not ongoing risk to consumers who eat at those

Important advice for consumers – CDC

If you have eaten a salad from a McDonald’s restaurant in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wisconsin since mid-May (on or after 5/14/2018) and you developed diarrhea, see a healthcare provider to be tested for Cyclospora infection and to be treated if you are sick.

Do not eat leftover salads from McDonald’s restaurants that were purchased in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wisconsin. Throw them away.

This investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that this cluster of illnesses is related to the ongoing Cyclospora outbreak linked to Del Monte fresh produce vegetable trays.

What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do? – FDA

The FDA is working with McDonald’s to identify the common ingredients in the salads identified by those who became sick and to trace back those ingredients through the supply chain.

  • Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. It is recommended that they wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products.
  • Wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.

What is Cyclospora?

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a microscopic parasite of humans. This parasite, when it contaminates food or water and is then ingested, can cause an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis.

The Cyclospora parasite needs time (days to weeks) after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person. Therefore, it is unlikely that cyclosporiasis is passed directly from one person to another.

What are the Symptoms of Cyclosporiasis?

People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite.

Most people infected with Cyclospora develop diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted. Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse).

Who is at Risk?

Anyone who consumed salads from McDonald’s in IA, IL, MN, MO, NE, SD, and WI could have been exposed to the pathogen. People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite.

Who should be Contacted?

Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days. The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to Submit An Inquiry, or to visit for additional information.


Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

Staff Writer

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