FDA: 400 sickened by parasite in McDonald's salads

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Last month, news broke that over 100 people in Iowa and IL had gotten sick due to a parasite found in McDonald's salads.

Now, the number of people who have reported illness in response to the parasite continues to grow.

Fresh Express, a California produce company owned by Chiquita Brands, is linked to an outbreak that sickened almost 400 people in 15 states who ate salads from McDonald's. Fresh Express said in a statement that it initiated a precautionary recall July 27.

The cyclospora parasite affects the intestinal health of those who consume tainted water or food. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea, although patients might also experience a loss of appetite, weight loss, cramping, nausea, and fatigue.

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It can last anywhere from several days to a few months, and can be treated with antibiotics.

When the number of sick McDonald's-goers began to rise, the fast food chain pulled salads from 3,000 restaurants across 14 states. The company later said it replaced the supplier of salads in those states.

On July 26, the FDA's investigation of Fresh Express, a salad mix retailer, they found Cyclospora in an unused package of salad mix containing romaine lettuce and carrots that was distributed to McDonald's.

In the alert, the USDA said the issue was discovered when Indianapolis-based food distributor Caito Foods "received notification from their lettuce supplier, Fresh Express, that the chopped romaine that is used to manufacture some of their salads and wraps was being recalled".