Two state departments of public health are investigating McDonald's after people reported feeling sick after eating salads from the fast-food chain.
The Illinois and Iowa Departments of Public Health say they have seen an increase in cyclosporiasis, a parasitic intestinal infection that was also recently linked to Del Monte Vegetables. Iowa has identified 15 people who ate McDonald's salads in late June to early July prior to getting ill and Illinois has seen 90 cases of cyclosporiasis with a quarter of the infected people having eaten a McDonald's salad before getting ill.
Both state departments have warned residents to contact their doctors if they recently ate a McDonald's salad and feel any symptoms.
"Anyone who ate these salads since the middle of June and who developed diarrhea, especially watery diarrhea and fatigue, should see their health care provider and get tested for Cyclospora to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment," Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said in a statement on the Iowa Department of Public Health website.
"Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald's restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources," Illinois Public Health Department Director Nirav D. Shah said in a statement. "If you ate a salad from McDonald's since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment."
McDonald's said in a statement that it has voluntarily stopped selling salads at the impacted restaurants.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier," McDonald's told PEOPLE. "We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers – which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest."
"McDonald's is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control," the chain added. "We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate."1comments
For those who'd rather eat a side of French fries anyway, customers across the country are ordering free fries Friday on National French Fry Day.
Many fast food chains are offering free or discounted fries. At McDonald's in particular, all customers have to do is place an order for $1 or more (pre-tax) using the app to get a free order of medium fries. Click here to check out what other chains are offering free fries on Friday.