The world's largest restaurant chain by revenue has been linked to a parasitic illness which has infected hundreds in the United States
Over 400 people have been infected with a parasite after eating McDonald’s salads in the US, according to health officials.
The outbreak of Cyclospora – which can cause explosive diarrhoea – was first reported in May and has been linked to a mix of romaine lettuce and carrots, reports The Independent.
It led to McDonald’s recalling salads from 3,000 restaurants throughout the American midwest and changing its supplier.
According to The Independent, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now confirmed 436 cases of Cyclospora infection in 15 states, resulting in 20 people needing hospital treatment.
Cyclospora, an infection of the bowel caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis, is usually caught from eating raw fruit and vegetables contaminated with human faeces.
Symptoms such as stomach cramps, flatulence and loss of appetite begin about a week after exposure and the illness can last more than a month if not treated.
McDonald’s said in a statement: “The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald’s restaurants is always our top priority. 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.”
“The investigation is ongoing and the FDA is currently reviewing distribution and supplier information for romaine and carrots,” said the FDA in a statement on Friday.
It urged restaurants to make sure employees washed their hands and surfaces before and handling food.