The Food and Drug Administration is looking into claims that Lucky Charms cereal is making people sick. However, cereal maker General Mills has said that it hasn’t found any clear link between its product and illness.
Over the weekend, the FDA confirmed that it has received over 100 complaints of illness linked to Lucky Charms so far this year. Elsewhere, a consumer health website (iwaspoisoned.com) has purportedly collected thousands more reports of illness. On the website, people have reported symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain after eating Lucky Charms. These claims first started to get media attention more than a week ago.
“The FDA takes seriously any reports of possible adulteration of a food that may also cause illnesses or injury,” the agency said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
Notably, while the self-reported claims made on the website are reviewed, they’re not subject to outside verification. The AP reports that General Mills has conducted its own investigation and that it has failed to find a conclusive connection between the cereal and illness† The company has said that it encourages customers who believe they were sickened by the cereal to reach out directly.
Reported outbreaks of foodborne illness from cereals tend to be rare, since the baking process kills off many germs. But there can be contamination afterward as the products go through glazing or packaging. And since people usually don’t cook their cereal before eating it, they can be then exposed to any lingering pathogens. In 2018, at least 100 people were sickened by Salmonella bacteria found in lots of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, which led to a wide-scale recall. Multiple salmonella outbreaks were also once traced back to the same cereal brand, Malt-O-Meal—and indeed the same manufacturing plant—in 1998 and 2008.