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McDonald’s pulls salads from some restaurants after more than 100 people infected by parasite

Departments of public health in Illinois and Iowa are investigating some McDonald’s locations after people became ill after eating their salads.

CNN reported that Illinois has reported 90 cases of a parasite outbreak since mid-May. Iowa reported 15 cases since late June.

>> Read more trending news 

The Iowa Department of Public Health said there has been an increase in Cyclospora infections that were connected to salads at the fast-food chain. 

“This summer there have been several clusters of Cyclospora illness associated with various foods that are commercially available. This week IDPH has identified 15 Iowans who ate McDonald’s salads in late June to early July prior to getting ill,” Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said in a statement. “Anyone who ate these salads since the middle of June and who developed diarrhea, especially watery diarrhea and fatigue, should see their health care provider and get tested for Cyclospora to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

According to an initial investigation from the Illinois Department of Public Health, about one-fourth of cases in the state reported eating salads from McDonald’s before getting ill.

“Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald’s restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, said in a statement. “If you ate a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”

Symptoms of Cyclospora infection include loss of weight and appetite, frequent watery diarrhea, cramping, bloating and increased gas, a low-grade fever, fatigue and nausea. Vomiting is less common, but could still be a symptom of infection.

Cyclospora is not spread directly from person to person, but people get infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces that contain the parasite, according to the IDPH. It is the same parasite that has been linked to Del Monte vegetables, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier,” McDonald’s told People in a statement. “We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers – which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest.

“McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control,” the burger chain added. “We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate.”

Safety agency warns about sparkler, fireworks safety this Fourth of July

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding people ahead of the Fourth of July to celebrate safely.

The agency said in a Wednesday news release that there were eight fireworks-related deaths reported in 2017. Victims ranged in age from 4 to 57, according to the agency’s 2017 fireworks report

>> Read more trending news 

“In CPSC’s new fireworks report, five of the eight deaths were related to reloadable aerial devices; one was associated with devices manufactured at home, one involved a firecracker, and one was related to sparklers. Seven victims died from direct impacts of fireworks, and one victim died in a house fire caused by misusing a firecracker,” the CPSC news release said.

According to the report, 70 percent of those injured from fireworks were male and 30 percent were female. Half of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to people under the age of 20. Hands and fingers were the most-frequently injured parts of the body in such incidents at 31 percent, followed by 22 percent to the head, face and ears, 17 percent to legs, 14 percent to eyes and 6 percent to arms.

During a CPSC-hosted demonstration for firework safety, Bowling Green, Kentucky, pilot Michael Spencer shared his story of injury. He was injured by a shell-and-mortar-style fireworks device and lost fingers on both hands. He’s had more than 11 surgeries since then.

“Fireworks can be extremely dangerous, even if they are legal,” Spencer said. “My advice would be to leave them to the professionals.” 

The CPSC advises the following fireworks safety tips for consumers :

  • Make sure consumer fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. 
  • Never use or make professional-grade fireworks.
  • Do not buy or use fireworks that are packaged in brown paper; this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and are not for consumer use.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person or occupied area.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

“CPSC works year round to help prevent deaths and injuries from fireworks,” CPSC acting chairman Ann Marie Buerkle said in a statement. “Beyond CPSC’s efforts, we want to make sure everyone takes simple safety steps to celebrate safely with their family and friends. We work with the fireworks industry, monitor incoming fireworks shipments at the ports and enforce federal fireworks safety regulations so that all Americans have a safe Fourth of July.”

More information on fireworks safety is at CPSC.gov. Fireworks recalls can be checked at the CPSC recalls page.

AT&T warns customers of Social Security scam

AT&T has reportedly issued a warning to its customers about a phone scam making the rounds.

WAFB reported that customers are reporting calls from people saying their service is being temporarily halted until they give the last four digits of their Social Security number.

>> Read more trending news 

“These calls are not from us,” AT&T said in a statement, according to WAFB. “If any company calls you and asks for your personal information, that is a red flag. One of our tips on our new Cyber Aware website is never give such information to someone who calls you. Call the company at the number found on your bill.”

Customers can also forward suspicious texts to 7726 or report scams to abuse@att.net.

If you got a telemarketing call from Dish Network, you may be able to get $1,200

If you received a call from Dish Network from 2010 to 2011, you may be able to get $1,200 per call.

CBS News reported that thousands of people who have received calls from the company are owed a portion of the $61 million class-action lawsuit.

>> Read more trending news 

In January 2017, a verdict was reached in the case in which Thomas Krakauer sued Dish Network in North Carolina federal district court for making illegal telemarketing calls to his phone number. USA Today reported that a judge ruled that, by calling Krakauer while his number was on the Do No Call Registry, the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

More than 18,000 telephone numbers were called between May 11, 2010, and Aug. 1, 2011. Customers can find out if their numbers were affected at this website. If their numbers were called, a claim can be submitted at DishClassAction.com

Audi recalls 1.2 million vehicles due to faulty coolant pumps

More than a million Audi vehicles are being recalled by Volkswagen Group of America because of faulty coolant pumps. Audi is a luxury brand of Volkswagen.

>> Read more trending news 

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the company issued the recall on 1.2 million cars and SUVs with a 2-liter turbocharged engine. The recall includes the 2013-2016 A4, 2013-2017 A5, 2012-2015 A6 and the 2013-2017 Q5.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the electric coolant pump in the vehicle can be blocked with debris and lead to a short-circuit or overheating.

Dealerships will replace the pumps at no cost to car owners. Recall letters will be sent out on or before June 11. Another notice will be mailed when the redesigned parts are available, which should be in November. In the meantime, a spokesman told The AP, dealers will install a new version of the current pump.

FTC says those ‘warranty void if removed’ stickers are illegal

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it had sent letters to six major companies informing them that the “warranty void if removed” stickers on specified parts aren’t just meaningless, they are also illegal.

>> Read more trending news 

Under the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, companies cannot place repair limits on warranties “unless warrantors provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC.”

“Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm both consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services,” Thomas B. Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said.

Related: This Facebook tool reveals whether Cambridge Analytica has your data

The major companies it contacted market and sell cellular devices, automobiles or video gaming systems in the United States -- products that commonly feature the warning stickers. In fact, both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One video game consoles come with the stickers.

Here are some examples of service claims that violate the 1975 law, according to the FTC:

  • The use of (company name) parts is required to keep your … manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact.
  • This warranty shall not apply if this product … is used with products not sold or licensed by (company name).
  • This warranty does not apply if this product … has had the warranty seal on the (product) altered, defaced, or removed.

The agency said it has asked the contacted companies to review their warranty notices and ensure that they don’t “state or imply that warranty coverage is conditioned on the use of specific parts of services.”

Related: Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal affected up to 87M Facebook users, company says

Officials will then review the companies' websites after 30 days, and inform them that “failure to correct any potential violations may result in law enforcement action.”

Read the full announcement at the FTC website.

Smoke alarm recall: 500,000 Kidde detectors might not alert users to fire

Kidde recalled about 500,000 dual-sensor smoke alarms Wednesday because they pose a risk of people not being alerted to a fire in their home.

>> Nearly 600,000 pacifiers, teether holders recalled amid concerns about choking

A yellow cap left on during the manufacturing process can cover one of the two smoke sensors and compromise the smoke alarm’s ability to detect smoke.

About 452,000 devices were sold in the United States, in addition to 40,000 sold in Canada.

>> Johnsonville recalls 109K pounds of sausage after reports of plastic contamination

This recall involves models PI2010 and PI9010 of Kidde dual-sensor (photoelectric and ionization) smoke alarms. “KIDDE” is printed on the front center of the smoke alarm. The model number and date code are printed on the back of the alarm.

The recall includes:

Model: PI9010 (DC/battery powered)Date Code: September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017

Model: PI2010 (AC/hardwired)Date Code: September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017

>> 1.4 million Ford vehicles recalled after reports that steering wheel can come loose

People should remove the alarm from their wall or ceiling and look through the opening on the side of the alarm for a yellow cap. People should not attempt to take apart the alarm, open the casing, or otherwise remove the yellow cap themselves. If a yellow cap is present, people should immediately contact Kidde to receive instructions and request a free replacement smoke alarm. They should remove and discard the recalled smoke alarm only after they receive and install the replacement alarm. If no yellow cap is present, people should reinstall the smoke alarm and no further action is needed.

>> Read more trending news 

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has received one report of the yellow protective cap being present on a smoke alarm before it was installed in a home. No reports of incidents or injuries as a result of a yellow cap being present have been reported.

>> On Boston25News.com: Boston's bravest: Facing a hidden killer

The affected smoke alarms were sold at Home Depot, Walmart and other department, home and hardware stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, ShopKidde.com and other websites from September 2016 through January 2018 for between $20 and $40.

Read more here.

Company warns of Instant Pot overheating, melting

Instant Pot is warning customers of a potential hazard in one of its cooker models.

WTSP reported Thursday that the company made a post on Facebook Sunday saying it has received “a small number of reports” that its Gem 65 8-in-1 Multicooker overheats, causing melting.

>> Read more trending news 

“We believe the problem only affects batchcodes 1728, 1730, 1731, 1734, and 1746. To verify the 4-digit batchcode, locate the silver label on the underside of the product,” the company said in the post. “The batchcode is the 4-digit number located at the bottom right of the label. We want you to know that we take any problem with our products extremely seriously as safety and quality are our primary concern, and we are working cooperatively with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).”

The company asked customers with the Gem 65 8-in-1 Multicooker from batchcodes 1728, 1730, 1731, 1734, and 1746 to stop using the product immediately.

Customers with this model who have questions can call the Instant Pot customer care team at 1-800-828-7280.

Hand-me-down toys could pose serious health risks for kids, study says

Do you accept second-hand toys? Beware, because they could pose serious health risks for children, according to a new report. 

Researchers from the University of Plymouth recently conducted an experiment, published in Environmental Science and Technology, to determine the dangers of passed-down toys. 

>> Toys 'R' Us to close up to 182 stores nationwide; see the full list

To do so, they used X-ray fluorescence technology to examine 200 plastic toys, such as cars, trains, figures and puzzles, which were found in nurseries, thrift shops and homes across England. They were inspecting the items for nine hazardous elements, including antimony, barium, bromine, cadmium, chromium, lead and selenium.

After analyzing the results, they found that 20 toys had traces of all nine elements, which can be chronically toxic if children are exposed to them at low levels. If the kids put the products in their mouths, they can be introduced to the toxins faster.

>> Consumer safety group W.A.T.C.H. unveils 'most dangerous' toys list

"Consumers should be made more aware of the potential risks associated with small, mouthable and brightly coloured old plastic toys or components,” coauthor Andrew Turner told BBC. "Without that, the attractive cost, convenience and recyclability of previously used toys has the potential to create a legacy of chemical contamination for younger children."

Furthermore, a few of the toys didn’t comply with standards set by the European Council's Toy Safety Directive. In fact, red, yellow or black plastics were the worst, because they had too much too much bromine, cadmium or lead.

>> Read more trending news 

While scientists said second-hand toys “are an attractive option,” parents should use with caution. They also believe risky toys should be taken off the market altogether. 

New Year's resolutions: 4 tips for avoiding gym membership scams

The holidays are over and it’s time to get back in shape, but officials are warning consumers about potential gym membership scams.

>> Read more trending news 

In 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received about 140 complaints involving fitness or health club memberships. Top problem areas included cancellation and billing issues. Under Ohio’s Prepaid Entertainment Contracts Act, consumers generally have three business days to cancel a contract for gym memberships and other “health spa services,” martial arts training, dance studio lessons, or social referral services (such as a dating service).

>> How to keep your New Year’s resolutions this time

“This is a time when many people are thinking about joining a gym, and that can be a great way to get in shape. We just want consumers to understand what they’re signing up for,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “A little bit of prevention can go a long way.”

>> PHOTOS: Most controversial figures from 2017

DeWine’s tips for avoiding scams include the following:

1. Research the gym. Look for complaints on file with your local attorney general’s office or Better Business Bureau, and check online reviews for feedback from current or past customers. Pay attention to how a business addresses customer complaints.

2. Read contracts carefully. Make sure verbal agreements are put in writing. Otherwise, they are not guaranteed.

3. Watch out for extra fees. Determine the total cost of your membership. Find out if there are any extra fees for services like fitness classes or personal training. Also find out if payments will be withdrawn automatically from your account.

4. Check the cancellation policy. Understand what you would need to do to cancel your contract and how far in advance cancellations must be made. Many contracts renew automatically, so be sure to check the total length of the contract. 

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