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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Subway issues an apology for Illinois Salmonella Outbreak

In a move that more restaurants can learn from, according to news reports, the Subway restaurant chain issued an apology Wednesday in connection with a salmonella outbreak that has affected 80 people across 26 Illinois counties. As state health investigators continue working to pinpoint the cause of the outbreak, a Subway corporate spokesman said the company was sorry for the problems.

"We sincerely apologize to all Subway customers, those who have fallen ill, and those who now may hesitate to come back for a while," spokesman Kevin Kane noted. "We are truly sorry for the difficulty this situation has caused you, our customer, and are working diligently to solve this mystery and to regain your trust."

The Illinois Department of Public Health says people began getting sick after eating in Subway restaurants beginning May 11. As of Tuesday, reports of illness have come from Bureau, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Coles, DeKalb, DeWitt, Fulton, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Macon, Marshall, McLean, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Sangamon, Schuyler, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Will and Winnebago.

The strain of salmonella involved in the outbreak is an uncommon variety called Hvittingfoss. Typically, only one to two cases of this type of salmonella are seen in Illinois per year, the health department noted. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach cramps. Illness usually develops within six to 72 hours after being exposed to Salmonella bacteria and generally lasts three to seven days.

The next issue is if Subway will willingly pay for medical bills and lost wages?

  • You ask will “Subway willingly pay for the medical bills and lost wages”?
    Well, which Subway are you referring to: the franchisor, known as Doctor Associates Inc, or the group of franchisees who served the tainted food?
    They are not the same. DAI sets standards and also makes recommendations.
    Doctor Associates will not have standards that automatically implicate them for food poisoning on a theory of vicarious liability. They might have set some recommendations.
    The franchisees on the other hand even if they didn’t follow the recommendations are unlikely to have a deep enough pocket to willingly make the payments you suggest.

  • Paulina

    I’m curious if the new breakfast menus have anything to do with this outbreak. Has the reason for the outbreaks been found?