Jimmy John’s has removed sprouts from its restaurants nationwide until further notice. The move comes in response to a warning letter the company received from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) citing what the agency described as a company-wide failure of food safety controls for receiving fresh produce.
Outlining the company’s link to five food poisoning outbreaks over the last seven years, the FDA stated the sandwich shop franchise has “engaged in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale adulterated fresh produce, specifically clover sprouts and cucumbers.”
It’s unclear why the FDA did not include the company’s link to three other sprouts outbreaks prior to 2013. Since 2009, Jimmy John’s has been linked to one cucumber E. coli outbreak and seven food poisoning outbreaks caused by sprouts. The most recent, an E. coli outbreak that sickened 22 people in Iowa, occurred at the end of December 2019.
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Jimmy John’s Removed Sprouts From Menu Once Before
This is not the first time Jimmy John’s has removed sprouts from its menu. In 2012, after the company had been linked to its fourth sprouts outbreak in four years, the company’s founder, Jimmy John Liautaud, said he was pulling them from the menu permanently. But eight months later, he announced that clover sprouts, rather than alfalfa sprouts, would be offered at stores nationwide. Eighteen months after that, clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s and other restaurants were linked to an E. coli O121 outbreak that sickened 19 people in five states.
The inherent risk of raw sprouts is well-documented. Over the last 20 years, sprouts have been linked to more than 40 food poisoning outbreaks that have sickened more than 2,400 people resulting in 171 hospitalizations and three deaths. The reason sprouts pose such a high risk is that the warm, humid conditions required to grow them is also ideal for growing E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. That’s why major retailers like Kroger, Walmart and Costco don’t sell them.
Jimmy John’s Outbreaks
2019 Sprouts produced by Sprouts Unlimited and sold at grocery stores and Jimmy John’s restaurants sicken 22 people in Iowa with E. coli O103.
2018 A Salmonella outbreak linked to sprouts served at Jimmy John’s sickens 10 people in three states.
2014 A five-state E. coli O103 outbreak sickened 19 people some of whom ate the sprouts on Jimmy John’s sandwiches.
2013 An E.coli O157:H7 (STEC) outbreak linked to cucumbers sickens eight people in Colorado.
2012 An 11-state E.coli 026 outbreak sickened 29 people some of whom ate the sprouts on Jimmy John’s sandwiches.
2011 A Salmonella Newport sprouts outbreak sickened six people in Oregon and Washington.
2010 A Salmonella sprouts outbreak sickened 140 people in 26 states and the District of Columbia some of whom ate the sprouts on Jimmy John’s sandwiches.
2009 A 14-state Salmonella sprouts outbreak sickened 235 some of whom ate the sprouts on Jimmy John’s sandwiches.
If you have been sickened by contaminated sprouts served at Jimmy John’s and would like a free consultation with our team of food poisoning lawyers, please fill out the form below, call 1-888-377-8900, or text 612-261-0856.