Jimmy John's E. coli Outbreak and Litigation
Marler Clark, the Food Safety Lawfirm, has been retained by a woman who consumed tainted sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurant and experienced symptoms of E. coli O103. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified the origin of the sprouts, tracing them to Chicago Indoor Garden and potentially other growers. The sprouts were sold to Jimmy John's, Whole Foods and other retailers, and distributed to others who are not yet identified. Jimmy John's LLC stopped serving sprouts as of February 24, 2020.
On March 16, 2020, Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all products containing red clover sprouts. Recalled products are marked with a "Best by" date of March 12,2020. Recalled products include:
- Red Clover 4 oz. clamshell
- Red Clover 2 lb. boxes
- Sprout Salad 6 oz. clamshell
- Mixed Greens 4 oz. clamshell
- Spring Salad 6 oz. clamshell
To date, 51 people have become infected with E.coli from ten states; Illinois (7), Iowa (3), Idaho (1), Florida (1), Missouri (1), New York (1), Texas (1) and Utah (34), Virginia (1), Wyoming (1). The illnesses began on dates ranging from January 6, 2020 to March 2, 2020. Two individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported at this time.
People infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103, by state of residence, as of April 22, 2020 (n=51).
Those ill range in age from 1 to 79 years, with a median age of 29. Of those interviewed, fifty-six percent reported eating sprouts in the week before the onset of symptoms. Seventeen (63%) of the 27 interviewed reported eating sprouts at a Jimmy John's restaurant.
More illnesses may still be reported as there is time between consumption and when the first symptoms occur; it takes an average of 3 to 4 weeks between when a person becomes ill and when they report the illness.
People infected with the outbreak strain of E.coli O103, by date of illness onset*
*n=51 for whom information was estimated or reported as of April 22, 2020.
As of April 22, 2020, this outbreak appears to be over.
How can I reduce my risk of food borne illness from sprouts?
Avoid eating sprouts if you in the the following groups of people; children, elderly, pregnant women, people whose immune systems may be compromised, including people who are diabetic, have liver or kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, or cancer.
Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Harmful bacteria is killed when sprouts are thoroughly cooked.
Request that sprouts are not added to food when ordering meals in restaurants.
What is an E. coli infection?
The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.
Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.
People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.