You could say that there have been cereal complaints about Lucky Charms. On May 6, 2022, the website iwaspoisoned.com posted the following message: “Starting in late 2021 Lucky Charms food poisoning reports started to trend on iwaspoisoned.com. Now there are reports of over 7,300 sick.”
Yeah, there probably aren’t too many people saying, “gee, I really hope to trend on iwaspoisoned.com.” This website allows people to submit reports of feeling ill after eating a food item that was served at or sold by a business. According to the website, “This real time information is shared by consumers, food authorities, restaurants, and industry with one aim – to make eating a safer experience.” Their stated goal is to prevent “food poisoning outbreaks, reduces risks, and creates better outcomes for restaurants, shareholders, and the public.” Therefore, it’s probably not the place to complain about your significant other’s cooking, unless your significant other happens to be a restaurant or a food manufacturing company.
The complaints about Lucky Charms have been magically repetitious, so to speak. Many have cited very similar gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. And they always seem to be after me Lucky Charms. For example, one post complained, “I would eat a bowl of lucky charms in the morning and be fine for a couple of days then on the third day I would get a stomach ache late at night for 2 nights straight the first night being the worst with nausea and diarrhea and breaking out in a sweat this happen for 2 weeks the second week I started vomiting. I have been fine for like a month now because I haven’t ate the cereal since and won’t buy it now and guess what no more problems.”
And while Lucky Charms may have Pink Hearts, Orange Stars, Yellow Moons, Green Clovers, Blue Diamonds, Purple Horseshoes, and Red Balloons, you typically don’t think of Green Stools. Nevertheless, various posts did mention green stools, which in this case is presumably not some kind of leprechaun furniture or lucky leprechaun poop. Here’s an example of one such unlucky story: “Had diarrhea for a day or so at eating lucky charms. And it was green stools. Did not think of it till my wife told me not to eat it anymore because of it causing issues the other day . This happened some time earlier in April with eating the cereal. I won’t be eating that again for a long time if ever again.”
Then there were the “urine” trouble posts such as, “This week May 2, 2022, My urine started smelling awful and something isn’t right down there. Now I read that Lucky charms my favorite Cereal made people sick. I had two big bowls on Monday bought two boxes because they were on sale.”
As they say, one can be accident, two can be a coincidence, but over 7,300 is a trend. While a spoonful of anonymous complaints could easily be the work of pranksters, someone with an axe to grind, or some other anti-Lucky Charmers, so many different reports does merit further investigation. It looks like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is already on the case. As of May 7, the FDA’s “Investigations of Foodborne Illness Outbreak” website does list an ongoing investigation into 529 adverse event reports linked to a dry cereal, as opposed to soggy cereal. The website currently doesn’t specify the potential cereal offender. However, Dee-Ann Durbin has reported for the Associated Press that the FDA is going after me Lucky Charms cases and trying to verify the reports and potential links to the cereal.
General Mills, which manufactures the cereal, has yet to issue a recall. Some have speculated that something else may be going on, such as a norovirus outbreak, and that those affected just happened to be eating the cereal, as seen in this KARE 11 news report:
Of course, if this were indeed a mere coincidence, you have to wonder why so many people have been singling out Lucky Charms in their posts. The Statista Research Department has indicated that “5.29 million Americans consumed 10 portions or more in 2020,” and Laura Northrup did report for the Consumerist that more than 40% of all Lucky Charms cereal is consumed by adults. So there are quite a few people eating Lucky Charms. At the same time, presumably they are eating other things since no one would recommend an all-Lucky Charms diet.
If Lucky Charms does turn out to be the culprit, the question then would be whether some ingredient in the cereal or a contaminant such as an infectious pathogen or chemical is to blame. For example, has General Mills recently changed the way Lucky Charms is being manufactured or the components of the cereal? Are there any vulnerable pointe where a contaminant could have been introduced? Have proper monitoring and safety procedures been followed? In the meantime, you may want to be careful with me Lucky Charms and until the cause of all of these illness reports is identified be a bit magically suspicious.