Lettuce blend linked to intestinal parasite

By Tim Nelson
Updated July 16, 2018
Credit: SOPA Images/Getty Images

It’s shaping up to be a bad summer for food-borne illnesses. Just a short while after the FDA warned consumers to steer clear of Honey Smacks, it seems that a salad-based E.Coli scare has reared its ugly head once again.

This week, McDonald’s recalled salads from 3,000 locations scattered across 14 states amid reports of a cyclosporiasis outbreak in the midwest linked to some of the burger chain’s healthier offerings. CDC data estimates that 61 people across seven states have suffered from the illness, which involves having a microscopic parasite pass through your intestines. Though that sounds unnervingly gross, so far only two cases have required hospitalization, and no deaths have been reported. The first reports of cyclosporiasis date back to mid-May in Illinois, with Iowa also showing a relatively high concentration of cases beginning in late-June.

Once the CDC identified McDonald’s salads as the likely culprit, the fast food chain issued a statement announcing that “out of an abundance of caution”, they would be voluntary recalling salads “until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier.” The recall primarily targets the midwest, and the company notes that they’ve already removed the contaminated lettuce blend from regional distribution centers.

The unwelcome news comes not too long after an E.Coli outbreak tied to Arizona-based romaine lettuce swept across 32 states, claiming five lives. After initial reports that dated back to April, the CDC was only able to declare the outbreak “over” on June 28th.

So if you live in the midwest and were planning on eating something lighter on your next McDonald’s run, treat yourself to something greasy and fattening instead. For now, at least, it might just be the healthier option.