The Illinois Jimmy Johns Salmonella outbreak, believed to be linked to alfalfa sprouts, is just one of two outbreaks to salute what may be the final days of Congress’s attempt to pass much needed food safety legislation. (See "Food Safety Bill on Life Support"). Both outbreaks–Jimmy Johns in Illinois, and E. coli O157:H7 associated with Sally Jackson raw milk cheeses–are caused by foods (sprouts and raw dairy) that are regulated by the FDA. And both foods are as relevant as any other in the discussion over why the Food Safety Modernization Act is needed. This is the 12th raw dairy outbreak nationally this year. And for sprouts, the FDA estimates that sprout-linked outbreaks account for 40 per cent of all food-borne illness associated with produce.
From the Illinois Department of Health’s press release (published on website today): The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), working in conjunction with local health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investigating a Salmonella outbreak (Serotype I 4,5,12,i-). Many people who have become ill reported eating alfalfa sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants in nine counties in Illinois – Adams, Champaign, Cook, Kankakee, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, Will and Winnebago. The Department has received reports of 46 Illinois resident becoming ill with this serotype of Salmonella since November 1, 2010.