UPDATE: The outbreak of Cyclospora infections traced back to McDonald's salads has increased to 163 laboratory-confirmed cases across 10 states. See the CDC's Case Count Map for specifics. According to the CDC, people sickened range in age from 16 to 87 years old, with a median age of 53. Women have been hit a little bit harder as 66% of the cases have been female. To date the single common ingredient has not been determined, but those sickened reported eating a variety of McDonald's salads in the two weeks before they got sick.
The article as it was originally published follows below.
Just when we think salads are safe again (yay, the romaine E. coli outbreak is over!), McDonald’s voluntarily stopped selling salads in 14 states after more than 60 confirmed cases of cyclospora were linked to their salads sold in seven states. According to a statement from McDonald’s, the sale of salads in these states will resume once they can switch to another lettuce blend supplier. States where you’ll be unable to buy a salad include Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri.
Unlike many other foodborne pathogens, cyclospora cannot be transmitted from one person to another, so it doesn’t matter how many times our food handlers wash their hands (at least as it pertains to cyclospora). You become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with the single-cell parasite. If you were infected you’ll notice symptoms such as diarrhea and possibly weight loss, loss of appetite, bloating, gas, vomiting, and nausea that begins an average of seven days after consumption of the contaminated food.
The good news, according to the CDC: “Because of the proactive actions McDonald’s took to remove the affected salads from the locations in these states, there likely is not ongoing risk to consumers who eat at those McDonald’s locations.” The FDA is working with McDonald’s to determine the common ingredients in the salads causing the illness so they can trace it back through the supply chain.