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  1. FDA In Brief

FDA In Brief: FDA Investigates New E. coli O103 Outbreak Likely Linked to Clover Sprouts from Jimmy John’s Restaurants

February 26, 2020

Media Inquiries

  Peter Cassell
  240-402-6537

The following quote is attributed to Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response:

“Upon learning that this new outbreak is likely linked to clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s restaurants in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Utah, the FDA activated a team to initiate a traceback investigation and federal health officials will continue to monitor for illnesses.

“We are advising consumers who may have recently eaten sprouts at Jimmy John’s to monitor for symptoms of an E. coli infection and consumers should contact their health care provider if they have experienced common foodborne illness symptoms.

“If consumers have a leftover sandwich with clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s, do not eat it and throw it away.

“These 14 new cases are not associated with the warning letter that the FDA issued to the company yesterday, but they do underscore the seriousness of the issue as we work with Jimmy John’s to prevent outbreaks like these in the future.”

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, are investigating an outbreak of 14 illnesses caused by E. coli O103 in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Utah. The CDC is reporting that the epidemiologic evidence indicates that clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s restaurants are a likely source of this outbreak.
  • The CDC is recommending that consumers who have recently eaten clover sprouts on a sandwich from Jimmy John’s restaurants and who are experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection, such as severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea and/or vomiting, should contact their doctor and report their illness to their local health department. If consumers have a leftover sandwich with clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s, do not eat it and throw it away.
  • Generally, it is recommended that children, the elderly, pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind.
  • Jimmy John’s LLC reported that all of its restaurants stopped serving clover sprouts on Feb. 24, 2020. At this time, clover sprouts should not be available at any Jimmy John's restaurants.
  • The FDA has activated a team to coordinate this outbreak investigation. This team is currently collecting records and initiating a traceback investigation to determine the source of the clover sprouts. Authorities are investigating whether implicated sprouts have been distributed elsewhere and will continue monitoring for additional illnesses.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.