Tainted sprouts again linked to Jimmy John's

February 16, 2012 By MARY CLARE JALONICK , Associated Press

(AP) -- Raw sprouts from the sandwich chain Jimmy John's have been linked to an outbreak of foodborne illness - again.

The federal said Wednesday that 12 cases of E. coli poisoning in five states are linked to raw clover eaten at Jimmy John's restaurants. The outbreak comes a year after raw alfalfa sprouts from one of the chain's suppliers were linked to 140 salmonella illnesses. Sprouts from the chain's suppliers were also linked to a 2009 salmonella outbreak in several Midwestern states and were suspected in an E. coli outbreak in Boulder, Colo. in 2008.

Illinois-based Jimmy John's declined to comment on the outbreak. After the a year ago, the company said it would switch from using alfalfa sprouts to using clover sprouts because they are easier to clean. But federal regulators warn against eating all raw sprouts, which are one of the most frequent perpetrators of foodborne illness.

Though they are often touted as a health food, sprouts need warm and to grow, encouraging . Many restaurants have stopped serving them after multiple outbreaks, and the government recommends that the very young, elderly, pregnant and others with compromised immune systems stay away from raw sprouts completely. Fully cooked sprouts are safe to eat.

According to the , there have been at least 30 outbreaks associated with raw or lightly cooked sprouts in the United States in the last 15 years and even more around the world, including a 1996 outbreak in Japan that sickened thousands of people with E. coli. Fenugreek sprout seeds from Egypt are thought to have caused a major outbreak of E. coli poisoning in Europe last year that killed more than 50 people.

Illnesses in the current outbreak were reported in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Wisconsin. The illnesses occurred between Dec. 25 and Jan. 15 and two of the victims were hospitalized.

In most sprout outbreaks the restaurant is not to blame for the contamination itself. Contamination usually happens when the seeds are grown or harvested and is often impossible to wash off.

Food safety lawyer Bill Marler has represented victims in the three previous sprout outbreaks potentially linked to Jimmy John's. He has pushed the FDA to require warning labels on sprouts and praises restaurants that have taken them off the menu.

"You have to wonder what this company is thinking," he said.

Explore further: EU bans Egypt seed imports after E. coli outbreak

shares

Related Stories

EU bans Egypt seed imports after E. coli outbreak

July 5, 2011
(AP) -- Egyptian sprout seeds blamed for a massive and deadly E. coli outbreak are still on the market and were shipped to more European countries than was previously believed, officials said Tuesday, as the EU announced ...

Recommended for you

A new theory on reducing cardiovascular disease risk in binge drinkers

January 23, 2018
A new study shows that binge drinkers have increased levels of a biomarker molecule—microRNA-21—that may contribute to poor vascular function.

Flu infection study increases understanding of natural immunity

January 23, 2018
People with higher levels of antibodies against the stem portion of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) protein have less viral shedding when they get the flu, but do not have fewer or less severe signs of illness, according ...

New long-acting approach for malaria therapy developed

January 22, 2018
A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new 'long acting' medicine for the prevention of malaria.

Virus shown to be likely cause of mystery polio-like illness

January 22, 2018
A major review by UNSW researchers has identified strong evidence that a virus called Enterovirus D68 is the cause of a mystery polio-like illness that has paralysed children in the US, Canada and Europe.

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.