Days after Tiny Greens Organic Farm Food Co. sprouts were identified as the likely source of a nationwide Salmonella outbreak that has resulted in at least 94 illnesses, mostly among Jimmy John’s restaurant customers from 16 states, Marler Clark, publisher of Food Safety News, pledged $10,000 to make sprouts safer.
In a press release issued today, food safety attorney Bill Marler announced that the firm planned to make a donation to the International Sprout Growers Association to “assist in the development of a safer method for the production of sprouts.” He encouraged Jimmy John’s to match the law firm’s donation, advocating that a matching pledge would be “an investment in the safety of its customers.”
On Wednesday, Marler Clark attorney David Babcock called on Jimmy John’s to eliminate sprouts from its menu. Nearly 40 foodborne illness outbreaks have been linked to contaminated sprouts since 1990. Sprouts served at Jimmy John’s have been identified as the source of Salmonella and E. coli outbreaks in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
“Jimmy Johns is a victim of its own methods and success when it comes to sprout-linked foodborne illnesses,” said Babcock. “Sandwiches with raw sprouts are unfortunately engineered with a flaw–no cooking step to kill bacteria–and a chain restaurant that sells as many sandwiches nationally as Jimmy Johns has an obligation to take needed measures to ensure the safety of its product.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is collaborating with the FDA and public health officials across the nation to complete the Salmonella outbreak investigation. Investigators are using DNA analysis of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing to identify cases of illness that may be part of the outbreak.
According to the CDC,
approximately half of the Salmonella cases associated with the most
recent outbreak occurred in Illinois, where many of the ill individuals
ate sandwiches containing sprouts at various Jimmy John’s outlets.
Jimmy John’s restaurants have voluntarily suspended serving sprouts at
Illinois franchise locations.
Prior Food Safety News coverage of the alfalfa sprouts Salmonella outbreak© Food Safety News