Lucky Charms' streak of bad luck is over. Following a surge in stomach illness reports linked to the colorful cereal, the Food and Drug Administration initiated an on-site inspection of General Mills' production facilities, and safety experts encouraged consumers to leave boxes of it on grocery-store shelves. But the FDA has closed its four-month investigation into the reports after finding … nothing.
More than 8,000 consumers reported gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting, on iwaspoisoned.com, a food-safety website, linking their illnesses to eating Lucky Charms. The reports were unofficial, and Lucky Charms was never recalled. The FDA itself received similar complaints from at least 231 consumers, prompting the FDA to conduct on-site inspections. General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, cooperated with the inspections, and four state health departments — Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, and New York — interviewed consumers who had complained of illness. Yet after extensive testing, the FDA said that it found no pathogen or any cause for the illness reports.
Foodborne illnesses from dry cereal are rare because the ingredients are cooked. Before 2022, the FDA said there had been just 41 reports linked to Lucky Charms since 2004, and iwaspoisoned.com received only 100 complaints about any kind of cereal in 2021. Though the investigations came up empty-handed, General Mills reportedly offered customers who complained two coupons worth up to $7 off its cereals. The CEO of iwaspoisoned.com said in a statement that consumers should continue to speak up and report any problems, despite the findings.