A parasitic illness that hit McDonald’s and sickened 160 people may have spread to Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Walgreens

Trader Joe's sells products that may have been contaminated by the cyclospora parasite, according to the Department of Agriculture.

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Trader Joe’s sells products that may have been contaminated by the cyclospora parasite, according to the Department of Agriculture.
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  • Walgreens, Trader Joe’s, and Kroger are the latest stores whose products might be contaminated with the cyclospora parasite.
  • Certain salad and wrap products containing romaine lettuce from the supplier Fresh Express may be affected, the US Department of Agriculture said.
  • Consumers have been urged to throw away the products if they have certain sell-by dates; the link to the full list is below.
  • The parasite sickened 163 McDonald’s customers in 10 states last month, the Food and Drug Administration said.
  • Cyclospora, which is spread to food through contact with feces, was found in a sample of lettuce from Fresh Express, the FDA said.
  • The parasite can live for up to 14 days and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.

The parasite causing an illness that sickened McDonald’s customers last month may have spread to products sold by Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, and Kroger, the US Department of Agriculture said Monday.

The Food and Drug Administration said last week that traces of the parasite were found in a sample of salad mix with romaine lettuce from a single supplier, Fresh Express.

On Monday, the Department of Agriculture said certain foods including prepackaged wraps and salads that use lettuce from Fresh Express might be affected. The products have sell-by dates from July 18 to 23 and include a chicken Caesar salad sold at Walgreens, a tarragon chicken wrap at Trader Joe’s, and a Cobb salad from Kroger. (The full list is here.)

When the cyclospora parasite, transmitted through food contaminated by feces, is then eaten, it can result in an uncomfortable intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss and last for several days or weeks. It is treated with antibiotics and is not fatal.

The parasite can become infectious to other people up to two weeks after being passed in a bowel movement, so it is unlikely that cyclosporiasis is passed directly from one person to another, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The FDA said last month that 163 reports of infections had been traced to McDonald’s restaurants in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The outbreak is the second in recent weeks.

McDonald’s has said it removed potentially affected salads from restaurants and distribution centers, including about 3,000 in the Midwest.

The full list of affected products is here.