Jimmy Johns announced that they are no longer serving sprouts on their sandwiches. A good call after 5 outbreaks, the most recent of which was a 12 person, 5 state E. coli O26 sprout outbreak. Jimmy Johns is apparently on the way to offering “snow pea shoots” as a substitute for the popular sprouts.
But a little research on snow pea shoots makes you wonder whether Jimmy Johns has really changed anything at all. Any horticulturalist types can correct me if I’m wrong. Last year they switched from alfalfa to clover sprouts, which was a difference in name only because, as we have seen, clover seed is no less prone to contamination than alfalfa. And now, “snow pea shoots” (the latter being the operative word) may just be a euphemism for sprouts. After all, aren’t all seeds that sprout and the young plant consumed . . . just sprouts? Aren’t snow pea sprouts, or shoots, grown or “sprouted” from seed in the same moist medium that other, more traditional kinds of sprouts are? Maybe the switch was made not because snow pea shoots aren’t sprouts, but because they haven’t been associated with as many illnesses and outbreaks. A quick look at Marler Clark’s outbreak database shows only one relevant outbreak, and that appears to have been linked to the peas themselves, not the peas in a younger form, whether you call them shoots or sprouts.
So, is Jimmy Johns really still selling sprouts?