Cheerios Cereals Making People Sick: Reports

Another breakfast staple is being blamed for causing stomach upset – leading to a lot of tummy aches.

Cheerios cereal may be making consumers vomit and causing diarrhea, according to a growing number of complaints arriving on iwaspoisoned.com, a platform that tracks foodborne illness.

The new reports involving Cheerios come on the heels of a massive outbreak involving Lucky Charms, which reportedly sickened more than 8,000 consumers last year, according to the website and triggered an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration.

Both cereals are made by General Mills.

“Food security is our top priority. We take all consumer concerns very seriously and are investigating this matter,” Andrea Williamson, a spokeswoman for General Mills, told The Post on Thursday. “We encourage consumers to share any concerns directly with General Mills so that we can properly and fully investigate.”

The FDA began an investigation into Lucky Charms in early April and has since tested samples of the sugary cereal and visited manufacturing facilities, The Post reported.

“We do not have an update on the ongoing Lucky Charms investigation,” the agency told The Post on Thursday. “The FDA continues to take seriously any reports of possible adulteration of a food that could also cause illness or injury. As we continue to review and investigate these reports, we will provide updates as they become available.”

Complaints about Cheerios, which have 20 different varieties, surfaced this year in all regions of the country and escalated in April when 100 people reported their disease outbreaks — along with disbelief that a dry cereal many of them have been eating since hitting shelves in 1941 could make them sick, according to iwaspoisoned.com.

General Mills makes about 20 different flavors of Cheerios.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

A consumer in Fort Worth, Texas, reported experiencing stomach problems after eating Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast for two weeks in March.

“Every day that I ate, I had stomach problems. When I decided to stop eating the cereal to try to figure out what was causing the problems, the pain immediately stopped. It was a family-sized Honey Nut Cheerios purchased in March 2022, I feel good since I stopped consuming the cereal,” according to the complaint.

Another New Mexico consumer complained of “sheer pain and agony…holding my sides”. This person said that their two young children had a similar reaction after eating the cereal.

“About 2 hours after eating Honey Nut Cheerios I started vomiting and having diarrhea,” wrote another consumer from Syracuse, NY [the cereal].”

A bowl of Luck Charms cereal.
The FDA is investigating reports that thousands of consumers became sick after eating Lucky Charms.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

General Mills said it found no evidence to support that its cereal is making people sick, but several food safety experts believe the company should withdraw Lucky Charms until more information is available, The Post reported.

In March, the company said on a conference call that one of its biggest challenges is sourcing certain ingredients.

“We tweaked the formulations,” said John Nudi, president of the North American retail company. “In some of our products, we reformulate more than 20 times a year. Every time you make an ingredient change, you have to change the formulation.”

A bowl of Cheerios.
Complaints about Cheerios increased in April.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some of the consumers who allegedly ate Lucky Charms and got sick later reported having green-colored poop, which could indicate that a new ingredient was introduced into the cereal, experts told The Post.

The potential Cheerios outbreak began this year with 16 people reporting an illness to iwaspoisoned.com in the first quarter, compared to just nine complaints about the cereal in 2021, said the site’s founder Patrick Quade.

Tachianna Charpenter from St. Paul, Minnesota and her partner were among the first consumers who reportedly got sick from Cheerios in January.

Her partner had tummy troubles first after allegedly having a bowl of cereal with milk, and assumed it was a stomach flu or bad milk, she told The Post. But Charpenter claims she ate a bowl from the same cereal box with oat milk the next day and soon became sick with diarrhea and vomiting. She stated that she was sick for the next five days.

“I was baffled that we can get food poisoning from a dry food,” she told The Post. “but it happened to both of us right after we ate the cereal.”

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