FDA Officially Investigating Popular Cereal After Hundreds of Illness Complaints

Weeks after Lucky Charms cereal lovers complained of coming down with an illness they suspected was from eating the cereal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially opened an investigation. "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, as reported by the Associated Press. The investigation comes after customers reported their complaints to iwaspoisoned.com. The website previously helped to identify foodborne illness outbreaks from other foods.

In the case of Lucky Charms, consumers reported falling ill with a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, bloating, body ache, gas, stomach pain, and fever. Consumers claimed the symptoms began a few hours of eating the cereal and lasted for upwards of two weeks.

One customer from Lawton, Oklahoma, wrote that they "have been suffering with severe stomach and intestinal problems along with bloating and body aches and headaches" ever since they began eating Lucky Charms. Another person said their whole family experienced symptoms, writing that they had "diarrhea and vomiting after eating cereal the week of March 27th 2022. We were so sick!! Worse than the flu with vomiting every 5 minutes." 

Some consumers believed their illnesses were linked to the dye used in the cereal's marshmallows. One wrote: "I think there is a dye that is in the cereal that cause digestion problems with me."

Consumers who reported lived in multiple states across the country. There were reports from many on Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Maryland, California, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, Nevada, Washington, Virginia, and Illinois. Consumers reported they purchased boxes of the cereals at retailers including Walmart, Food Lion, H-E-B, Shoppers, Target, Price Chopper, Meijer and Market Basket.

General Mills Inc., the Minneapolis-based company that makes Lucky Charms, Cheerios and a handful of other cereal brands said it's aware of such reports and takes them seriously. But the company said its own investigation has not found any evidence of consumer illness linked to Lucky Charms. The company also said they encourage consumers to share their concerns directly with them.