Nobody’s lovin’ this. Hundreds of people across America have become violently sick with nausea and diarrhea, all thanks to a parasite that’s being spread through McDonald’s salads!
Let this be a lesson: always order the Big Mac (or maybe skip fast food all together.) In a case of the healthy option being the wrong choice, some 395 people across 15 states had gotten sick with Cyclospora cayetanensis (or Cyclosporiasis) after eating tainted McDonald’s salads, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (per USA Today.) The salads have been contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite, which is spread through fecal matter. Gross, right? It gets worse. Cyclosporiasis’s symptoms include: watery diarrhea (aka ‘explosive’ diarrhea), a loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps and pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, body aches, headache and fever.
Sixteen people have since been hospitalized after eating the contaminated salads. So, how are so many people getting sick? Blame Fresh Express, one of McDonald’s suppliers. On July 26, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration analysis found Cyclospora in a sample of an unused package of salad mix with romaine lettuce and carrots. “Fresh Express committed to using recall procedures to inform those companies that received this romaine about the sample result,” the FDA said. “Fresh Express also reported that carrots used in the mix were only sent to McDonald’s locations.” Soon after people began getting sick, McDonald’s voluntarily stopped selling salads at impacted restaurants – and they switched salad suppliers.
Cases have been reported in Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Illinois (where McDonald’s is headquartered and where the most cases have been reported: 202.)
What do you do if you think you have Cyclosporiasis? “Most people who have healthy immune systems will recover without treatment,” according to the CDC website. “If not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse). Anti-diarrheal medicine may help reduce diarrhea, but a health care provider should be consulted before such medicine is taken. People who are in poor health or who have weakened immune systems may be at higher risk for severe or prolonged illness.”
Similarly, on July 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert on Caito Foods beef, pork and poultry salad and wraps, out of fear that they too have been contaminated with Cyclospora. Fresh Express also supplies the chopped romaine lettuce that Caito Foods uses for its foods sold at Kroger, Trader Joe’s and Walgreen’s.
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