McDonald’s is working with government health officials to isolate the salad ingredients suspected of sickening 163 people in 10 states since late May.
Salads possibly contaminated with cyclospora, a microscopic parasite that can cause flu-like symptoms in humans, were voluntarily pulled last week from 3,000 McDonald’s stores in 13 states, mostly in the Midwest. Many of the victims reported eating a salad from McDonald’s in the days before they became ill. Three people have been hospitalized because of the food poisoning, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
The agency says McDonald’s is cooperating in the effort to determine exactly what components of the salads might have been contaminated. Several are being investigated, according to the FDA. It has not advised other restaurants to stop serving salads or avoid certain products.
Officials say they’ve found no connection to a cyclospora outbreak linked to Del Monte vegetable trays sold in retail establishments.
Also participating in the McDonald’s investigation are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the health departments of Iowa and Illinois, the first states to notice a cluster of cyclospora contaminations within their populations.
Victims have since come forward in Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Another sickened person lives in Florida, but reported eating a McDonald’s salad while visiting Kentucky.
“The additional states identified by the FDA and CDC are among the same states where a week ago we proactively decided to remove our lettuce blend in impacted restaurants and replace it through a different supplier,” McDonald’s said in a prepared statement.
It did not reveal the supplier of the salads that are suspected of being contaminated with cyclospora.