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McDonald’s salad illnesses traced to processor

FDA confirms cyclospora in Illinois-produced salad mix

The Food and Drug Administration has traced July’s Cyclospora outbreak, linked to McDonald’s salads and at least 286 illnesses in 15 states, to a Fresh Express processor in Streamwood, Ill., the agency said Tuesday.

The outbreak lead Chicago-based McDonald’s Corp. to temporarily halt salad sales at 3,000 restaurants in 14 states. The Centers for Disease Control reported the 286 laboratory-confirmed cases. 

The FDA this week said that on July 26 it “completed final analysis of an unused package of Fresh Express salad mix containing romaine lettuce and carrots, which had been distributed to McDonald’s.

“The analysis confirmed the presence of Cyclospora in that sample, though the expiration date for that product, July 19, had already passed,” the FDA said.

Fresh Express reported that the carrots in the sampled salad mix only went to McDonald’s, the agency said.

McDonald’s told the FDA it has stopped using the Fresh Express salad mix on July 13 at impacted restaurants in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

The FDA this year began using a new method for detecting Cyclospora, a microscopic parasite, in fresh produce. 

This parasite, when it contaminates food or water and is then ingested, can cause an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis. 

The agency said most people infected with Cyclospora develop severe diarrhea. 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.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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