Is Lucky Charms Cereal Really Making People Sick?
Since last July, over 100 people have posted on the website IWasPoisoned.com to report that they became ill after eating Lucky Charms cereal. The self-reported claims mostly involve gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, gas, vomiting, and, uh, let's just say "bathroom-related issues."
The website says that its mission is to "use data to bring together consumers, public health, and industry in near real-time to keep people safer and businesses more profitable." And although it is based on consumer reports and is not run by health officials, the comments about Lucky Charms seem to have gotten the attention of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"The FDA is aware of reports and is looking into the matter," the agency told Food Safety News earlier this week. "The FDA takes seriously any reports of possible adulteration of a food that may also cause illnesses or injury. Depending on the seriousness of the problem, an FDA investigator may visit the person who made the complaint, collect product samples, and initiate inspections."
"Complaints of a less serious nature or those that appear to be isolated incidents are monitored and the information may be used during a future inspection of a company to help the FDA identify problem areas in a production plant. The complaints are also discussed with company management during these inspections."
The FDA also told the Food Safety News that it had not received any reports related to Lucky Charms cereal. According to WGN-TV, the FDA uses its own system called the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Adverse Event Reporting Database (an ongoing record that is mercifully shortened to CAERS).
Since 2004, CAERS has only received 41 Lucky Charms-related reports, and it has received just three so far in 2021. And only one of those three was "related to the complaints listed in IWasPoisoned.com," the FDA told the outlet.
In response to our request for comment, the FDA told Food & Wine it "cannot confirm or deny if an investigation is planned or in progress," and shared an explanation of its protocols similar to those mentioned above.
"Food safety is our top priority. We take the consumer concerns reported via a third-party website very seriously," Andrea Williamson, a General Mills spokesperson told Food & Wine. "After a thorough internal investigation, we have not found any evidence that these complaints are attributed to our products. We encourage consumers to please share any concerns directly with General Mills to ensure they can be appropriately addressed."