Not So Lucky Charms: FDA Investigates Complaints

Featured, National

Bowl of lucky charms cereal | Image by Jennifer White Maxwell

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is following up on reports that consumers of Lucky Charms cereal became ill.

The FDA stated on Saturday, April 16, that it had received more than 100 complaints about Lucky Charms since January.

The agency tracks these reports through its CFSAN (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition) Adverse Event Reporting Systems. A less authoritative verification of this matter has been ongoing via a website that tracks such concerns called iwaspoisoned.com.

Initially, the FDA reported only a few complaints were received through its official protocols. USA Today reported on April 11 that the agency stated it had received a total of forty-one Lucky Charm complaints since 2004, and only three had occurred since the start of 2021.

According to the poisonings-tracking site, notices from Lucky Charms consumers began to surface in late 2021. From April 1 through April 18, the site saw 1,300 complaints about the cereal causing illness. As of April 20, reports indicate over 4,500 have fallen ill, allegedly from eating the cereal.

Consumers’ reported symptoms were diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

In June 2018, the FDA worked with Kellogg’s to recall its Honey Smacks cereal after an outbreak of salmonella, a bacteria that commonly causes food poisoning.

According to the CDC, salmonella symptoms usually present between six hours and six days after infection. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. Most people recover by drinking plenty of liquids, though IV fluids are required in extreme cases.

It is unknown if any of the recently-reported illnesses have been diagnosed as food poisoning or caused by salmonella.

It is also unclear if the illnesses are connected to Lucky Charms.

General Mills indicated that an in-house investigation of the reported problem had failed to connect its product to the illnesses, but requested that consumers report any issues directly to the company.

“We encourage consumers to please share any concerns directly with General Mills to ensure they can be appropriately addressed,” Andrea Williamson, a spokesperson for General Mills, told USA Today.

“Food safety is our top priority,” she said. “We take the consumer concerns … very seriously.”

A tweet from the Lucky Charms Twitter account echoed these sentiments.

So far, the FDA has not issued a recall on the cereal.

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