Earlier this month, McDonald’s temporarily stopped selling salads in 3,000 of its restaurants in the US after a Cyclosporiasis outbreak made at least 100 customers ill.

McDonald’s Forced to Pull Food After Parasite Outbreak

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What Is Cyclosporiasis ?

Cyclosporiasis is caused when the parasite cyclospora enters the body of a person drinking contaminated water or eating food that has been washed in water that is contaminated. It causes an intestinal illness, with symptoms taking at least a week to appear in most cases and potentially lasting several months. These include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting and flu-like symptoms.

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating how the outbreak occurred, but said in a statement that they wanted to help the public understand the risks of eating potentially contaminated food, the symptoms of a cyclospora infection and when to get medical help.

Avoiding Infection

It recommends that people wash their hands with soap and warm water before and after eating or cooking with fruits and vegetables and washing all cooking utensils used in the preparation of meat, poultry and seafood before preparing fruit and vegetables that won’t be cooked. Fruit and vegetables should be washed under running water prior to eating unless they are marked pre-washed. And all food should be stored properly, with companies using a catering fridge such as those sold by https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/catering-equipment.

McDonald’s Forced to Pull Food After Parasite Outbreak

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The FDA linked the current outbreak to McDonald’s salads being sold across 14 states, although people had only become ill in seven of these. Health departments in Iowa and Illinois are also investigating the outbreak in their states, which they have again linked to salads sold by McDonalds. Illinois seems particularly hard hit, with over 100 cases, the first of which was reported in mid-May and the last towards the end of June. McDonalds is working closely with both health departments and the FDA.

McDonald’s decision to stop selling salads was a voluntary one until they are able to find an alternative vendor for the lettuce they use. They are not the only company to be affected by a cyclospora outbreak: Del Monte’s fresh vegetable trays have been linked to over 200 people becoming ill in four US states. Investigators are also looking at a group of people in Texas who are sick, though they have not yet confirmed it is linked to cyclospora.