Jimmy John’s removes sprouts from sandwich options

January 22, 2018 GMT

Jimmy John’s restaurant in Beaver Dam, 803 Park Ave., is not serving sprouts on its sandwiches, following confirmed reports of salmonella contamination in Wisconsin and several other states.

Responding to those reports, Jimmy John’s franchise holders have pulled sprouts from their sandwich options, hoping that the issue will be resolved soon. There are Jimmy Johns Restaurants in Waupun, Fall River and Hartford as well as Beaver Dam.

“We are not serving them,” said Beaver Dam Jimmy John’s owner Trevor Gunderson. “We’re waiting for this to be cleared up, and hope that the problem will be solved. People love their sprouts.”

An employee eating her lunch nearby chimed in, “I do. I love sprouts.”

State health officials say five people have gotten sick after eating sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says the salmonella cases were reported around the state during mid to late December.

Several cases were reported in Dodge County, according to Dodge County Public Health nurse Jody Langfeldt.

“To date, approximately three people with Salmonella Montevideo infection caused by the same outbreak strain have been identified in Dodge County. All cases involve persons who reported eating sprouts at a Jimmy John’s restaurant location,” Langfeldt said. The release from Langfeldt did not identify any specific location where the people had eaten.

Officials say people diagnosed with the outbreak strain in other states also have reported eating sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants in their state.

Officials are working to identify the source of sprouts supplied to the restaurants where people became ill and if the product was distributed to other locations.

Sprouts are a known source of food borne illness. According to Langfeldt, to reduce the risk of getting sick from sprouts, sprouts should be cooked before consumption, and people should request that raw sprouts not be added to food. Children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts). Thoroughly cooking sprouts kills the harmful bacteria.

If people have eaten sprouts and become ill with diarrhea and fever, they should call their doctor and local health department.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or stomach cramps. Illness usually develops within six to 72 hours after being exposed to salmonella bacteria, but can be up to 10 days. Generally illness lasts three to seven days. Some individuals who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still transmit the salmonella bacteria to others. The spread of salmonella from person-to-person may be avoided by careful hand washing with soap and water, particularly after using the restroom.

James North, president and CEO of Jimmy John’s, stated that an investigation in the last 24-hours indicated that sprouts purchased from two growers in Minnesota, originating from two common seed sub-lots, could be linked to seven food safety complaints received over a one-week period in December in Illinois and Wisconsin.

“Food safety and the welfare of our customers are our top priorities and not negotiable in our business,” said North. “We have been working closely with the departments of health in Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as their federal counterparts, as they investigate the claims.”

He added, “Customers can have complete confidence that all of our ingredients are of the quality they have come to know and expect from our brand.”