Iowa has been hit the hardest in the newest installment of “sproutbreak,” now a 40-plus part series. This time, 5 Iowans are ill from sprouts on Jimmy Johns sandwiches, and a lawsuit will go forward next week on behalf of one. In addition, there are victims in 4 other states: Missouri (3), Kansas (2), Arkansas (1), and Wisconsin (1).
This is neither Iowa’s first go round with E. coli, or its first Sproutbreak. Several years ago, the same fact pattern, but a different bug (salmonella), sickened a bunch of Iowans in a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak linked to jimmy Johns sproutwiches (other retailers were implicated too, but mostly Jimmy Johns).
Here are a few past Iowa E. coli outbreaks that Marler Clark has tracked and represented people in:
- National Steak and Poultry tenderized beef E. coli outbreak
- Nestle Raw Cookie Dough E. coli outbreak
- Taco Johns Lettuce E. coli outbreak
- ConAgra Sold in Kroger Grocery Stores Ground Beef
And of course, sprouts and Salmonella, and Jimmy Johns, met up in the midwest in 2010 as well. The sprouter was Tiny Greens, and the number ill was almost one hundred:
On December 17, the Illinois Department of Health announced that an investigation was underway into an outbreak of Salmonella, serotype I4,,12:i:-. Many of the Illinois cases had eaten alfalfa sprouts at various Jimmy John’s restaurants in the Illinois counties of: Adams, Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kankakee, Macon, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, and Will counties. The sprouts were suspected to be the cause of the illnesses. On December 21, Jimmy John Liautaud, the owner of the franchised restaurant chain, requested that all franchisees remove sprouts from the menu as a “precautionary” measure. On December 23, the Centers for Disease Control revealed that outbreak cases had been detected in other states and that the outbreak was linked with eating alfalfa sprouts while at a nationwide sandwich chain. On December 26, preliminary results of the investigation indicated a link to eating Tiny Greens’ Alfalfa Sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurant outlets. The FDA subsequently advised consumers and restaurants to avoid Tiny Greens Brand Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts produced by Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois. The Spicy Sprouts contained alfalfa, radish and clover sprouts. On January 14, 2011, it was revealed that the FDA had isolated Salmonella serotype I4,,12:i:- from a water runoff sample collected from Tiny Greens Organic Farm; the Salmonella isolated was indistinguishable from the outbreak strain. The several FDA inspections of the sprout growing facility revealed factors that likely led to contamination of the sprouts