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Illness reports from Wisconsin Jimmy Johns show up on crowdsourcing site

logo iwaspoisoned.comThe Weston, WI Jimmy John’s restaurant is being investigated by the Marathon County Health Department over possible food poisoning.  “We have received some complaints and are doing follow-up,” Health and safety director Dale Grosskurth said. “It’s a full investigation.”

The crowdsourcing site  iwaspoisoned.com reports collecting  eight reports with a 19 total illnesses, according to spokesman Patrick Quade. One reported being treated by a doctor for norovirus.

Quade launched the IwasPoisoned.com site after he was a victim of food poisoning. It is designed to allow real-time reporting of food safety issues by consumers. Public health officials across the country are paying attention.

“This efficient, easy to use platform captures reports throughout the United States and globally,” Quade said. “It is in use by health departments in 70 percent of U.S. cities and has helped detect outbreaks.”

The local health department in Wisconsin began receiving reports of illnesses on April 7.

The Jimmy Johns franchise owner, Brian Macak, in a statement said: “Food quality is our top priority and drives every decision we make. The Department of Health inspected our store on Friday following a handful of complaints about one delivery, but they found no food hygiene issues at the store. Regardless, we voluntarily closed our store for a few hours yesterday afternoon to deep clean all of the equipment… The Department of Health is continuing its investigation and we are working closely with them to provide any information required.”

Grosskurth has not said how many complaints the health department is investigating, but said it could be several weeks before the investigation is complete. People reporting illnesses are being asked where they ate and when symptoms began.

One Jimmy Johns customer reported experiencing violent vomiting and diarrhea over about four hours.    That would be consistent with norovirus.

The Weston, WI Jimmy Johns is one of 2,500 locations in 46 states by the sandwich restaurant chains that specializes in delivery.  The chain was founded by Jimmy John Liautaud in 1983.  Based in Champaign, IL, 98 percent of its locations are owned by franchise holders.

Past food safety challenges for Jimmy Johns have focused mostly on its use of sprouts.

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