In April 2022, iwaspoisoned.com, a website that tracks reports of foodborne illnesses, received a surge of food poisoning reports about a popular breakfast cereal. The culprit? Lucky Charms.
On the website, people can report suspected foodborne illnesses, including the product or restaurant in question, their symptoms and details about their experience. In several posts that were liked or viewed thousands of times, users claimed Lucky Charms caused them to experience a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
On April 20, the Twitter account for the website said they had received 4,500 reports of sickness from Lucky Charms and claimed the FDA had initiated an investigation into the matter. A pie graph created by the website also showed the supermarkets where users reported they purchased their cereal.
After the claims about the “magically delicious” cereal surfaced online, VERIFY viewer Jessica asked, “What is the deal with Lucky Charms?”
Is the FDA investigating claims that Lucky Charms have caused people to get sick?
Yes, the FDA is investigating claims Lucky Charms has caused people to become ill.
WHAT WE FOUND
In a statement sent to VERIFY from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a spokesperson said, “The FDA is aware of consumer complaints regarding illnesses associated with Lucky Charms cereal and is currently investigating these complaints.”
According to the FDA, the agency has received hundreds of reports related to Lucky Charms in 2022 through its reporting database called CAERS.
“The FDA takes seriously any reports of possible adulteration of a food that may also cause illnesses or injury,” the FDA spokesperson added. “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.”
General Mills Inc., the Minneapolis-based company that makes Lucky Charms, Cheerios and other cereals, told the Associated Press it’s aware of those reports and takes them seriously. But the company said its own investigation has not found any evidence of consumer illness linked to Lucky Charms. General Mills said it encourages consumers to share their concerns directly with the company.
General Mills did not respond to VERIFY’s request for comment at the time of publication.
As of April 20, iwaspoisoned.com said it had received more than 4,500 reports related to the cereal since late 2021. For comparison, the website has received about 35 reports related to Cheerios in that same timeframe, according to a VERIFY count of reports.
More than 600 of the complaints about Lucky Charms were received in the first eight days of April, according to an April 8 article from Consumer Reports, a nonprofit consumer rights organization. Patrick Quade, the founder of iwaspoisoned.com, told Consumer Reports that the volume of reports it had received about Lucky Charms even then was “unprecedented in the over 10-year history of the website.”
General Mills and the FDA both told Consumer Reports in early April they were aware of the issue.
At the time of publication, Lucky Charms was not on the FDA’s list of recalled food or beverages. That list can be found here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report