FDA, CDC investigate multi-state outbreak of cyclosporiasis illnesses linked to McDonald’s salads

USA – The FDA, CDC, along with state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of cyclosporiasis illnesses likely linked to salads from McDonald’s restaurants.

According to FDA, a total of 476 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection were reported in people who consumed salads from McDonald’s restaurants; the cases were reported by 15 states, as of August 16, 2018.

The investigation is ongoing and the FDA is currently reviewing distribution and supplier information for romaine and carrots.

“The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald’s restaurants is always our top priority.

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 is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality and we continue to cooperate and support regulatory and public health officials in their investigations,” a statement from McDonald’s wrote.

FDA added that on July 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert on beef, pork and poultry salad and wrap products potentially contaminated with Cyclospora that were distributed by Caito Foods LLC, of Indianapolis, IN.

The products were produced between July 15 and 18, 2018, with either “Best By,” “Enjoy by,” “Best if Sold By” or “Sell By” dates ranging from July 18 through July 23, 2018.

Caito Foods had received notification from Fresh Express that the chopped romaine in these products was being recalled.

On July 26, 2018, the FDA 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, and on July 27, the FDA informed Fresh Express of the results.

FDA said it had also instructed Fresh Express to determine whether potentially contaminated product may still be on the market.

Fresh Express reported to FDA that the romaine from the same lot as the positive sample was not packaged for direct retail sale by Fresh Express and had already expired.

Fresh Express committed to using recall procedures to inform those companies that received this romaine about the sample result.

Fresh Express also reported that carrots used in the mix were only sent to McDonald’s locations.

Fresh Express reported to FDA that the romaine from the same lot as the positive sample was not packaged for direct retail sale by Fresh Express and had already expired.

Fresh Express committed to using recall procedures to inform those companies that received this romaine about the sample result, reporting that the carrots in the mix only went to McDonald’s.

FDA added that in 2015, it had set up a multidisciplinary workgroup to prioritize the development, validation and implementation of a method for detecting Cyclospora in fresh produce.

In 2018, FDA began using the newly validated Cyclospora method.

The availability of this method is a significant advancement in FDA’s ability to investigate outbreaks of cyclosporiasis and identify the parasite in foods.

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