According to reports, the cereal marketed as “magically delicious” for years is now under investigation for potentially making over 1,000 consumers sick.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it is looking into recent online reports of the popular cereal Lucky Charms causing gastrointestinal issues in some consumers.
On the website iwaspoisoned.com, where people can report any food-related illnesses and share the city and state where they received the food, over 1,300 people have said as of Monday they’ve felt sick since April 1 after eating the breakfast cereal. Most of the reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and cases have been reported throughout the United States.
“We recommend anyone who fell ill after eating Lucky Charms to report it and to keep leftover product for testing. We will communicate procedures for testing to everyone who reports their case,” the website reads.
“Have had abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea for multiple weeks. I eat everyday Lucky Charms,” one report from Hawaii reads. “Recently stopped eating them and I am starting to feel a little better. Still have abdominal pain.”
“My son eats lucky charms a few times a week for breakfast,” reads another report from New Jersey. “He’s been having stomach problems for about the last 4 months missing school from vomiting and diarrhea.”
There has been no official recall of the products as of April 8, but General Mills spokesperson Andrea Williamson told TODAY Food that food safety is the company’s “top priority.”
“We take the consumer concerns reported via a third-party website very seriously. After a thorough internal investigation, we have not found any evidence that these complaints are attributed to our products,” she wrote in an email. “We encourage consumers to please share any concerns directly with General Mills to ensure they can be appropriately addressed.”
“The FDA is aware of reports and is looking into the matter,” the FDA said in a statement to USA TODAY. “The FDA takes seriously any reports of possible adulteration of a food that may also cause illnesses or injury.”
Timothy F. Jones, MD, Infectious Disease News Editorial Board member and state epidemiologist for the Tennessee Department of Health, said breakfast cereals are “an extremely uncommon source” of foodborne outbreaks.
“Outbreaks like this are difficult for consumers to prevent, since the implicated food is not intended to be cooked prior to eating,” Jones told Infectious Disease News. “It can also be very difficult to identify a source if it ends up being an unexpected or very common product, which would not really raise anyone’s suspicion — as opposed to Salmonella in chicken or eggs, for example.”
According to the CDC, the outbreak involves patients aged less than 1 year to 87 years.
The FDA said it has received few complaints directly. The agency has its own food reporting protocols through its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition system. The CFSAN Adverse Event Reporting System is a database that collects complaints made about any food, dietary supplement and cosmetic product.