(CW) Fast food giant McDonald’s continues to deal with the fallout from a recent outbreak of a fecal parasite in its salads in as many as ten states. As of this past weekend, 163 people had been sickened by the tainted lettuce.
Though few people expect McDonald’s salads to be “healthy”— the chain was widely criticized in Canada in 2016 after it was reported that their kale salad had more calories and sodium than a Big Mac — it is struggling to get the cyclospora outbreak, which began in early May, under control. While it has already halted sales of salads at 3,000 locations, the infection can take a week to cause symptoms in humans. Those symptoms include diarrhea, loss of appetite, cramping, nausea, and fatigue.
USA Today noted that infections that began after June 7 may not have been reported yet due to the lag time between an individual falling ill and their decision to report it, especially considering it can take up to six weeks for the cyclospora parasite to be identified.
The parasite is non-fatal, but its presence in McDonald’s salads nevertheless reflects poorly on the brand’s attempt to offer cleaner options to its customers. As expected, the company has taken as many precautions as possible to prevent further spread of the parasite.
“We have removed lettuce blend provided by Fresh Express’ Streamwood, Illinois, facility,” company said in a statement Friday. “Many restaurants already have a new lettuce blend supply, while we expect all identified restaurants will have new supply in the next few days.”
Fresh Express, the supplier McDonald’s has now dropped, says no cause of the contamination has been identified and has denied any definitive responsibility.
Martin Bucknavage, a food expert at Pennsylvania State University, told USA Today it likely started with a water source.”Some water had to become contaminated and then used to irrigate the crops that become salad. These spores get into the water and survive for long periods of time. It could some from someplace upstream,” he said.
The cyclospora parasite also sickened around 200 people who consumed Del Monte produce earlier this month, and the McDonald’s outbreak has so far affected consumers in states including Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and West Virginia.
The problem of foodborne illness is not unique to the United States. Last year, undercover BBC investigations found bacteria in the ice at restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and Starbucks.
Though fast food chains hardly have a reputation for health food, the recent parasitic outbreak at McDonald’s provides yet another reason to consider other options.
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This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.
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