Food

FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Sprouts Served at Certain Jimmy John’s Restaurants

January 23, 2018

On this page:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, are investigating multiple Salmonella illnesses that are linked to clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Fast Facts

  • 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.
  • Jimmy John’s announced on January 19, 2018, that it had directed all of its retail locations to temporarily stop serving sprouts.
  • 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.

back to top

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.

The 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 Salmonella Montevideo.

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. Jimmy John’s announced on January 19, 2018, that it had directed all of its retail locations to temporarily stop serving sprouts.

Timeline

  • 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. On the same day, Jimmy John’s announced that it had directed all of its retail locations to temporarily stop serving sprouts.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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

back to top

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, and E. 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.

back to top

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.


The information in this release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.

Additional Information

back to top

Page Last Updated: 01/23/2018
Note: If you need help accessing information in different file formats, see Instructions for Downloading Viewers and Players.
Language Assistance Available: Español | 繁體中文 | Tiếng Việt | 한국어 | Tagalog | Русский | العربية | Kreyòl Ayisyen | Français | Polski | Português | Italiano | Deutsch | 日本語 | فارسی | English