Following a surge in stomach illness reports linked to Lucky Charms, the FDA has initiated an on-site inspection of the beloved cereal's production facilities, and safety experts are encouraging consumers to leave it on the grocery shelves for now.
More than 6,400 people have reported gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting on iwaspoisoned.com, linking their illnesses to the colorful cereal. These are unofficial reports, and Lucky Charms has not been recalled.
There has been a sharp uptick in reports since April 1, but similar reports have trickled in since July 2021, according to the site's founder and CEO, Patrick Quade. The website collects reports of food-related illnesses and allows users to self-report their symptoms and what they think caused them. While posts are reviewed and curated, individual investigations are not part of the process.
The FDA has similar reporting systems, and the agency has received complaints from at least 231 consumers about themselves or their children getting sick after eating Lucky Charms. There have been no known hospitalizations, but it's concerning enough that the FDA has begun on-site inspections. General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, is fully cooperating with those inspections.
General Mills has said it's unlikely that the cereal is causing stomach problems. The company said in a statement that it has conducted its own investigation into the reports and found no evidence of anything that would cause the illnesses.
Foodborne illness from dry cereal is rare because ingredients are fully cooked. Before this year, the FDA says there have been just 41 reports linked to Lucky Charms since 2004, and iwaspoisoned.com received only 100 complaints about any kind of cereal last year.
Still, safety experts with Consumer Reports recommend bypassing Lucky Charms for now, noting that in the past, iwaspoisoned.com has uncovered issues before they were confirmed by health officials.
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