Jimmy Johns Friday did something it has done in the past after one or more of its sandwich franchises was linked to an outbreak of foodborne illnesses: It ordered sprouts temporarily off the menu at all of its locations.

In a statement, Jimmy Johns management said the temporary sprout ban is a “precautionary measure” while it investigates seven food safety complaints from consumers in Illinois and Wisconsin during the last week of December 2017.

Jimmy John’s made the decision for its 2,727 locations after an investigation in the past 24-hours indicated that sprouts purchased from two growers in Minnesota, originating from two common seed sub-lots, could be linked to the seven food illness complaints.

“Food safety and the welfare of our customers are our top priorities and not negotiable in our business,” said James North, president and  CEO.

“We have been working closely with the Departments of Health in Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as their federal counterparts, as they investigate the claims. While the results of the investigation are not conclusive and we are still gathering more information, we have voluntarily directed all franchisees to remove sprouts as a precautionary measure from all supply and distribution.

“Customers can have complete confidence that all of our ingredients are of the quality they have come to know and expect from our brand.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration earlier Friday announced they were investigating a recent cluster of Salmonella ser. Montevideo infections.

Two cases involve Illinois residents.  People in Illinois reported becoming ill on December 20 and 26, 2017.  Based on a review of products, suppliers, and items consumed, investigators believe the most likely source of the infection are sprouts from multiple Jimmy John’s locations.

To reduce the risk to additional customers, IDPH has requested that all Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois remove sprouts from their menus until the investigation is complete.

IDPH is also reminding restaurants not to let food handlers with diarrhea work. Anyone with symptoms of Salmonella infection after eating food at a Jimmy John’s restaurant should contact a health care provider or the local health department.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection may include headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, chills, fever, nausea and dehydration. Symptoms usually appear 6 to 72 hours after ingesting the bacteria, but it can take longer for them to develop. Most illnesses resolve on their own and do not require treatment other than drinking fluids to stay hydrated. Anyone who experiences persistent or severe symptoms should contact a healthcare provider.

Salmonella bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals. Salmonella can contaminate almost any food.

Person-to-person transmission of Salmonella occurs when an infected person’s feces, from his or her unwashed hands, contaminates food during preparation or comes into direct contact with another person.

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