October 24, 2014

Jimmy John’s E. coli Outbreak Trickles Down to Chain’s Facebook Fans

The Jimmy John’s E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 14 people in six states prompted the fast-food sandwich chain to pull raw sprouts from its menu after federal and state health investigators implicated raw clover sprouts as the likely cause.

While it’s no secret in food safety circles that sprouts are a familiar vector of food poisoning — including in previous outbreaks at Jimmy John’s — numerous visitors to the Jimmy John’s Facebook “Wall” don’t seem to be aware of the issue or just don’t care. They miss their sprouts.

“I’m sad because I was just thinking about a turkey tom and now everyone is sayin the sprouts are gon seriously?! )-: best part,” one posting said.

“WUZZZZ UPPPPPP !!!!!!!!!!! Just got a turkey tom with no bean sprouts Called the store back and was told they do not carry them anymore ?????????????” said another.

The latest official updates on the outbreak focus on February illnesses reported in Michigan, where state officials say there are two confirmed case patients in the Jimmy John’s outbreak and five “suspect” illnesses that appear to be related to consumption of contaminated clover sprouts. The Jimmy John’s outbreak likely is tied to clover sprouts that started life as contaminated seeds, officials have said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raw sprouts are so commonly infected by pathogenic bacteria that they should not be consumed by young children, older adults, pregnant women or other people who have weakened immune systems. Since 2009, the CDC has tracked major sprout outbreaks that have killed more than 50 people and sickened more than 4,500.

Here are some more regrets posted by sprout lovers on the Jimmy John’s Facebook page (seen Feb. 29, 2012):

“I want the sprouts back. There’s almost nothing in the #6 (veggie) but I’ve probably eaten 600 of them over the past 3 years and I would gladly eat more. They’re GOOD because it’s a variety of good, fresh ingredients and the sprouts are a part of that. Everyone can ask to not have the sprouts, but it’s a big deal to take these away from the #6.”

“WHAT!!!! NO SPROUTS!!!! I can’t hit the LIKE without sprouts on the sub! Is this a MN only thing. Whats up Jimmy Johns.”

“If Jimmy Johns is really stopping sprouts temporarily a heads up on their website would be much appreciated/ customer service 101!”

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