The end of the rainbow may not have a pot of gold—but a pot of something entirely different.
Thousands of people have been reported getting sick after eating General Mills’ iconic sugary cereal Lucky Charms, experiencing symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The illnesses have left many wondering if the latest lineup of charms includes hearts, stars, horseshoes, clovers, and tasty infectious bacteria.
Since late 2021, the crowdsourcing website iwaspoisoned.com has also received more than 7,300 reports from people complaining of classic food poisoning symptoms. While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also received over 100 reports this year about the specific cereal and is officially investigating the issue.
The FDA has begun on-site inspections and sample collection and testing, but it has not reported what business or location is involved.
“The FDA takes seriously any reports of possible adulteration of a food that may also cause illnesses or injury,” the agency said in the statement they released to the public.
An agency spokesperson added, “The agency is currently reviewing and investigating these reports.”
People rarely get sick from mass-produced breakfast cereals. The reason for that is that these items are typically baked. However, cereal products can get contaminated with germs that can make people sick after it’s baked – typically when cereal is glazed with a sugar coating. It can also get contaminated when it goes into the packaging.
“In early May I ate a bowl of Cheerios with milk and within 3 hours I got severe cramps, nausea then diarrhea & vomiting,” one commenter says in a post fromiwaspoisoned.com. “It lasted for several hours that night. Then about 4-5 days later I ate Cheerios again and within a few hours, I got the same reaction only this time it lasted most of the night. After I got over it I stopped eating Cheerios and the symptoms haven’t returned.”
Below are complaints from Customers who get sick after eating Lucky Charms cereal, according to ‘AWM’:
“Having extreme abdominal pains time, I am holding on to the remaining cereal left in the Box and hoping to get it tested soon!” a Lucky Charms customer wrote.
“My son ate the Lucky Charms, and later that day, he was ill. It comes out of nowhere lasted for a couple of days,” wrote a critic from North Carolina.
“I had Lucky Charms for breakfast. After that, about an hour or so later, I got diarrhea and bad gas,” wrote one person from Pittsburgh, PA.
Other complaints included one from a Rochester, NY resident who wrote, “Ate Lucky Charms for breakfast on 4/12 and 4/13. I started feeling very nauseous and bloated to the point where it felt I was in a big bear hug. On 4/15 continued to feel nauseous, and then diarrhea began. First, it looked like chicken noodle soup. Then it was like I had taken preparation for a colonoscopy! Looked like muddy water was gushing out.”
Patrick Quade, the founder of iwaspoisoned.com, claimed that his website had received more than 3,000 reports from people allegedly sickened by Lucky Charms.
“We have had an unusually high number of reports for this product, which is why we have reached out to the FDA,” he said.
An Ohio resident wrote, “This is actually my second time experiencing symptoms after eating Lucky Charms, and I am certain it is the cause.”
It’s still unclear if the FDA will end up recalling Lucky Charms. Interestingly, the number of food-related recalls has dropped off during the pandemic — and nobody is entirely clear as to why. According to a report by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, there were only a quarter as many recalls in 2020 as compared to 2019.
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