FDA Investigating Claims of Food Poisoning From Lucky Charms

CR safety experts advise concerned consumers to consider choosing other cereal options until the issue is resolved

Bowl of Lucky Charms cereal Photo: Lane Turner/Getty Images

After reports of people getting sick after eating Lucky Charms cereal have bubbled up over the past several months, the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed it’s “looking into the matter.”

Since the beginning of April, the crowdsourcing site iwaspoisoned.com, which collects reports from consumers about illnesses related to food products or businesses, has already received more than 600 reports linked to Lucky Charms, the site’s founder, Patrick Quade, shared with CR.  

“This volume of reporting citing a single consumer product is unprecedented in the over 10-year history of the website," Quade says.

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While those complaints haven’t yet been independently verified, the FDA told CR it could initiate inspections of potentially affected facilities, collect product samples, and contact people who’ve been sickened. The agency declined to answer when CR asked whether any of those specific actions had yet been taken—a spokesperson only confirmed that the agency was aware of the reports and looking into the matter. 

The FDA’s own reporting system, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s CFSAN Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS), registered three complaints related to Lucky Charms in 2021. 

In response to CR’s questions about the complaints, Andrea Williamson, a General Mills spokesperson, said the company takes the consumer concerns reported via a third-party website very seriously. 

“After a thorough internal investigation, we have not found any evidence that these complaints are attributed to our products,” she told CR. “We encourage consumers to please share any concerns directly with General Mills to ensure they can be appropriately addressed.” The General Mills consumer services phone number is 800-328-1144.

While consumers wait for the FDA to weigh in definitively on the issue, CR experts advise caution.

Although there are a lot of unknowns, notes CR’s director of food safety and testing, James E. Rogers, PhD, these reports indicate a potential foodborne illness involving this product. The specific cause and the final list of products affected remains to be determined.

In the meantime, Rogers says, consistent with CR’s general advice when consumers have concerns, they can consider choosing from plenty of other available cereal options until more information emerges about whether there’s a problem and what might be causing it. 

In the past, iwaspoisoned.com has correctly identified food poisoning outbreaks before they’ve been uncovered by health officials, such as in a 2017 outbreak of norovirus tied to a Wisconsin Jimmy John’s

Catherine Roberts

As a science journalist, my goal is to empower consumers to make informed decisions about health products, practices, and treatments. I aim to investigate what works, what doesn't, and what may be causing actual harm when it comes to people's health. As a civilian, my passions include science fiction, running, Queens, and my cat. Follow me on Twitter: @catharob