Not just Illinois: salmonella in sprouts is making people barf all over; 89 confirmed sick, 1-in-4 hospitalized

That salmonella-in-sprouts at Jimmy John’s has spread to 15 states.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports from Nov. 1 to Dec. 21, 2010, the same Salmonella serotype I 4,[5],12:i:- had sickened 89 individuals from 15 states, with 50 of those from Illinois.

Case-patients range in age from 1 to 75 years, with a median age of 28. Sixty-eight percent of patients are female. Among persons with available information, 23% reported being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Preliminary results of this investigation indicate a link to eating alfalfa sprouts at a national sandwich chain.

To reduce the risk of illness:

• Children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).
• Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking kills the harmful bacteria.
• Request that raw sprouts not be added to your food. If you purchase a sandwich or salad at a restaurant or delicatessen, check to make sure that raw sprouts have not been added.

At one local eatery, we’re known as the no-sprouts customers.

That national sandwich chain would be Jimmy John’s. Although the company pulled sprouts two days ago from Illinois restaurants, they need to pull all raw sprouts nationally, figure out where the sprouts came from to limit exposure to others, and then seriously evaluate whether they should even be offering raw sprouts.

And when Jimmy John’s owner Jimmy John Liautaud wrote franchisees in a letter Tuesday saying that about 88 people were sickened in 15 states and that of 40 interviewed, 28 ate at Jimmy John’s and 25 had sprouts, he obviously knew what CDC is now reporting today. So why would you limit the yanking of sprouts to just Illinois? Why did it take CDC at least an additional two days to report what Illinois folks have been reporting for days?

This is going to be expensive.

A table of raw sprout-related outbreaks is available at

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time