FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Sprouts Served at Certain Jimmy John’s Restaurants
- The FDA advises consumers not to eat sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin because the product has the potential to cause salmonellosis.
- Epidemiologic evidence indicates that raw sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants are a likely source of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo infections, the CDC reports. The most recent illness began on January 3, 2018.
- The FDA is working with partners in Illinois and Wisconsin to trace back the clover sprouts to identify the source of the pathogen, to determine where the clover sprouts were distributed, and to learn more about the potential route of contamination.
What was the Problem and What is being Done About It?
The FDA, CDC, and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections. CDC reports that epidemiologic evidence indicates that raw sprouts served by Jimmy John’s restaurants are a likely source of this outbreak. The FDA is currently working with state partners to trace back the clover sprouts to identify the source of the pathogen, to determine where the sprouts were distributed, and to learn more about the potential route of contamination.
CDC reports that eight people have been infected with the outbreak strains of
Salmonella Montevideo in, IL (2), MN (1), and WI (5). Seven (88%) of these eight people
ate meals at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin
the week before becoming sick. All seven ill people report eating raw
sprouts on sandwiches from Jimmy John’s. All the clinical isolates
have the same DNA fingerprint of
State and local partners including the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services have been assisting trace back activities in this outbreak by collecting invoices from various Jimmy John’s locations and/or distributors to help determine the source of the clover sprouts.
- CDC notified the FDA of these illnesses on January 16, 2018.
- By January 17th, federal and state investigators had received epidemiological information that some ill people reported eating sprouts on sandwiches at multiple Jimmy John’s locations in Illinois and Wisconsin.
- On January 18, 2018, the FDA, CDC and state partners spoke with Jimmy Johns corporate headquarters to learn more about the origin of the clover sprouts.
- On January 19, 2018, the FDA and CDC advised people dining at Jimmy John’s locations in Illinois and Wisconsin to avoid sprouts.
What are the Symptoms of Salmonella Infection?
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
How Soon After Exposure do Symptoms Appear?
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.
What are the Complications of Salmonella Infections?
In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
Who is at Risk?
Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other people. Children younger than five, the elderly, and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons in the United States die each year with acute salmonellosis. Children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind.
What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do?
Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have served any potentially contaminated products need to be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products. They should follow the steps below:
- Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.
- Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products.
- Wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination
What Do Consumers Need To Do?
Consumers should avoid eating sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin. Consumers who purchased sandwiches containing clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin should throw them away. People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated sprouts should talk to their health care providers.
Like any fresh produce that is consumed raw or lightly cooked, sprouts that are served on salads, wraps, sandwiches, and other foods may contain bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Unlike other fresh produce, the warm and humid conditions used for sprouting are also ideal for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, andE. coli. Any bacteria present can multiply dramatically during the sprouting process. (Organic or locally-grown sprouts are not necessarily less risky, and neither are sprouts grown at home.) Washing sprouts may reduce risk, but will not eliminate it.
Who Should be Contacted?
People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated
sprouts should talk to their health care providers. Contact your healthcare
provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days, or is accompanied
by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot
keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.
The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website: http://www.fda.gov.