February 26, 2020
Total Illnesses: 14
Last illness onset: February 11, 2020
States with Cases: IA (3), IL (6), MO (1), TX (1), UT (3)
FDA, along with 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. 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 February 24, 2020. At this time, clover sprouts should not be available at Jimmy John’s.
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.
On February 21, 2020, the FDA issued a warning letter to Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC for engaging in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale adulterated fresh produce, specifically clover sprouts and cucumbers. On February 24, 2020, Jimmy John’s reported to FDA that they had removed sprouts from their restaurants.
The warning letter lays out evidence from five outbreaks, including recent outbreaks in the state of Iowa during November and December 2019, of human infections with Escherichia coli O103, a Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) linked to sprouts.
These 14 illnesses are new and are not associated with the outbreaks mentioned in the Jimmy Johns warning letter. FDA will continue its investigation and provide updates as more information becomes available.