FDA says reports nearing 450 in outbreak associated with Lucky Charms cereal

The FDA is reporting that the number of reports of illnesses linked to a dry cereal have almost doubled in the past week, reaching 446.

In a weekly update the Food and Drug Administration indicated that the number had increased from the 231 cases of “adverse events” reported on April 20. Although the update does not name the cereal involved, the FDA has previously confirmed to Food Safety News that it is investigating an outbreak of illnesses linked to Lucky Charms cereal.

The FDA has also confirmed that it sent an alert earlier this week to state and local health departments noting the outbreak and asking for help investigating it. The Ohio Department of Health reported that symptoms related to the cereal include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. 

Hundreds of similar reports to the crowd sourcing website iwaspoisoned.com have come in in recent weeks. The website operator Patrick Quade works with state and local health departments to help identify foodborne illness outbreaks.

In other outbreak news, the FDA has closed its investigation into a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak without having identified a source of the pathogen. As of the most recent report the outbreak had affected 60 people. The agency has not reported any information about the patients and has not reported where they live. The FDA did initiate traceback efforts but was not able to collect enough information for on-site inspections or sample collections.

Two other outbreaks, both involving infections from Listeria monocytogenes, remain under investigation. One was reported Feb. 9 and the other on April 13. The patient counts are currently at 17 and 19, respectively, up from 15 and 17 a week ago.

For the Listeria outbreak first posted on Feb. 9, the FDA has initiated traceback, on-site inspection and sample collection and testing. However, the agency continues to list the cause of the outbreak as undetermined.

For the Listeria outbreak initially reported on April 13, the FDA has begun traceback efforts, but no other investigation details have been released. The cause remains undetermined.

Other ongoing investigations
The FDA continues to investigate an outbreak of norovirus associated with oysters from Canada. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is assisting with the investigation and most recently reported 103 patients spread across 13 states. Recalls have been initiated and traceback efforts are ongoing.

In an outbreak of “adverse events” related to a meal replacement drink the FDA reports that six people have been affected. The agency first reported the outbreak on March 30. It has begun traceback and sample testing efforts.

In an outbreak of coronobacter infections, the FDA is continuing to investigate infant formula produced by Abbott Nutrition at its Sturgis, MI, plant. At least four babies have been infected and two have died. Recalls for certain Similac products and other formulas have been initiation and production at the plant has been shut down.

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