E. Coli Outbreak in Washington and Idaho Linked to Clover Sprouts From Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC

Seven confirmed cases and three probable cases of E. coli illness due to consumption of clover sprouts from several popular restaurants including Jimmy John’s

Washington and Idaho state officials are warning consumers not to eat fresh sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho following an outbreak of seven confirmed and three probable cases of E. coli 0121.

The tainted sprouts have been traced back to several restaurants including Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Pita Pit and Daanen’s Deli. They may also have found their way into other restaurants and grocery stores in Washington and Idaho.

According to Bill Marler, Seattle-based food safety advocate and attorney, sprouts have been linked to some of the largest food borne illness outbreaks in history, including a 2011 case in Germany that sickened 4,000 people, caused kidney failure in 900 people and ultimately killed 50.

Marler cites a pattern of repeated problems with Sprouts and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches first dating back to 2008 with additional outbreaks in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Marler resolved 5 E. coli O26 cases linked to clover sprouts at Jimmy John’s in multiple states.

Jimmy John’s has since made the switch from alfalfa sprouts to clover sprouts because Jimmy John Leitaud himself stated that research shows that clover sprouts don’t have the same contamination risks as alfalfa.

“While Jimmy John’s pulled sprouts from their menu after each outbreak they eventually resumed serving them to customers. They should never have brought them back knowing how inherently dangerous they are. Given their past history, what they’ve done is irresponsible,” Marler said.

According to Marler people should just not eat sprouts of any kind regardless of where they are obtained.

“This vegetable is just too dangerous and shouldn’t be eaten even with thorough washing. It’s just best to avoid sprouts altogether,” Marler said.


Bill Marler is an accomplished food safety advocate and attorney. He began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he successfully represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Over the years, Bill and his firm, Marler Clark, have become the leaders in representing victims of foodborne illness, and have gone against companies that include Odwalla, Chili’s, ConAgra, Dole, KFC, Sizzler, Golden Corral and Wendy’s.