WASHINGTON -- Sprouts from the sandwich chain Jimmy John's have again been linked to an outbreak of foodborne illness.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that 12 cases of E. coli poisoning in five states are linked to clover sprouts eaten at Jimmy John's restaurants. The outbreak comes a year after sprouts from one of the chain's suppliers were linked to 140 salmonella illnesses. Sprouts from the chain were also linked to a 2009 salmonella outbreak in several Midwestern states and were suspected in an E. coli outbreak in Colorado in 2008.
The CDC reports more than 30 sprout outbreaks in the last 15 years. Sprouts need warm and humid conditions to grow, encouraging bacterial growth.
Illnesses were reported in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Wisconsin.
Jason Flohrs, owner of the Cape Girardeau Jimmy John's, said he works closely with his suppliers to ensure that produce in his restaurant meet safety standards.
"I've switched back and forth based on these reports," Flohrs said.
Jimmy John's gives its franchisees the option of either alfalfa sprouts or clover sprouts, he said, so that when issues arise they can change their offerings.
Flohrs was aware of problems with illness associated with alfalfa sprouts in the past, but had not yet heard about this latest outbreak in clover sprouts.
But, he said, as a precaution, they have pulled all clover sprouts from their inventory and are waiting on direction from their produce supplier and Jimmy John's corporate headquarters as to what steps need to be taken next.
Staff writer Melissa Miller contributed to this report.
1800 Broadway Street, Cape Girardeau, MO