We just filed this motion to amend to add in JIMMY JOHN’s, LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Company, INSPIRE BRANDS, INC., a Delaware corporation:

This matter arises out of an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O103 that occurred in the early months of 2020. After thorough investigation and laboratory testing, the Utah Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked this outbreak to clover sprouts used by D&L to manufacture its sandwiches.

After purchasing and consuming a Billy Club Sandwich from D&L’s restaurant on February 21, 2020, Plaintiff Travis Knorr began to develop symptoms consistent with a STEC O103 infection and within the typical STEC incubation period on February 26, 2020. He was later diagnosed with STEC O103:H2 via stool sample testing, and the Utah Department of Health further conclusively determined, using whole genome sequencing (WGS), that he was a confirmed case in the 2020 STEC O103 outbreak linked to clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s (CDC cluster code 2002IAEXW-1).

Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on March 31, 2020, alleging that the sandwich Travis Knorr consumed from D&L’s restaurant was the source of bacteria that caused his illness. The discovery process, as well as plaintiff’s investigation of Proposed Defendants’ history of foodborne illness outbreaks, has revealed that the Proposed Defendants have been linked to numerous other sprouts-related outbreaks.[1] Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC was linked to three outbreaks between 2008 and late 2010, the last of which led to 140 illnesses.[2] Following the November 2010 outbreak, then owner John Liautaud stated in January of 2011 that the chain would replace alfalfa sprouts with clover sprouts as they were allegedly easier to clean.[3]

Less than one year later, Jimmy John’s was again implicated in a sprouts-related outbreak prompting a February 2012 announcement that Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC would be removing all raw clover sprouts from their menus.[4] However, three months later, at a meeting with the FDA, Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC changed its position and stated that it would serve only clover sprouts sourced from specific suppliers.[5]

Since that meeting, the FDA has documented three additional sprouts-related outbreaks implicating Jimmy John’s establishments where traceback investigations show Jimmy John’s has used suppliers that were not on its approved supplier list in 2012.[6] In his report, Ben Chapman, PhD notes that in over 20 years as a food safety professional, he has never encountered a situation “where a firm said they would do something in an official meeting with FDA, and then eventually decided to do something else.”[7]

In 2016, Roark Capital, a private equity firm that would go on to form Inspire Brands, Inc., purchased a majority share of Jimmy John’s, LLC. In late 2017 and early 2018, an outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo that sickened 10 people was linked to sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin. As a precautionary measure, during the last week of December, Jimmy John’s, LLC, though an email to all franchisees, initiated a temporary ban on the sale of sprouts. Following this outbreak, sprouts, which had been a mandatory menu item at all Jimmy John’s franchise locations, became optional.

In September 2019, Inspire Brands announced that in addition to the majority stake purchased by Roark Capital in 2016, it would be purchasing the remainder interest in Jimmy John’s, LLC. In late 2019, an outbreak of E. coli O103 in Iowa was linked to clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants.[8] On or around December 19, 2019, Jimmy John’s, LLC was informed that sandwiches sold at its restaurants were the suspected source of the outbreak, and on December 23, 2019, Inspire Brands was contacted by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals to inform them of the sprouts-related outbreak.[9] Neither Inspire Brands nor Jimmy John’s, LLC, informed Jimmy John’s franchisees out of the state of Iowa of the 2019 outbreak, specifically, they did not inform D&L of the outbreak.[10] D&L owner Daniel Star stated that, had D&L been informed, it is likely sprouts would have been removed from the menu at the location at which Plaintiff Travis Knorr purchased the sandwich that caused his injuries.[11]

In response to the 2019 outbreak of E. coli O103, the FDA sent Jimmy John’s, LLC a warning letter on February 21, 2020, five days before Travis Knorr began exhibiting symptoms as part of the Jimmy John’s linked 2020 E. coli 0103 outbreak.[12] In that letter, the FDA detailed evidence from five outbreaks that the FDA said, demonstrated that Jimmy John’s, LLC, through its franchised restaurants, “engaged in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale adulterated fresh produce, specifically clover sprouts and cucumbers.”[13] The letter went on to state that “[t]aken together, these outbreaks, which spanned over the past seven years and impacted no fewer than seventeen states demonstrate the corporate-wide supplier control mechanisms you have in place for receiving fresh produce are inadequate.”[14] In response to this letter, Inspire Brands, Inc., the owner of Jimmy John’s, LLC, replied to the FDA that sprouts had been permanently removed from the menu at all Jimmy John’s locations. The 2019 outbreak would later be genetically linked to the 2020 10-state outbreak of E. coli O103 which sickened Plaintiff Travis Knorr.[15]

In his expert report, Benjamin Chapman, PhD, noted that, in his opinion, Jimmy John’s decision to ignore evidence of the dangers of selling sprouts; failure to provide adequate resources to food handlers, specifically to control cross-contamination from sprouts; and failure to practice good risk communication towards customers “demonstrates a poor food safety culture.”[16]

In spite of significant available data on the dangers posed by sprout sales for consumption,[17] Proposed Defendants’ experience with several sprouts–related outbreaks, and Proposed Defendants’ acknowledgement of the dangers of serving sprouts during the 2012 meeting with the FDA,[18] Jimmy John’s restaurants continued to offer and sell raw sprouts leading to several outbreaks of life-threatening foodborne illness, including the 2020 outbreak that injured Plaintiff Travis Knorr.

Here is the Amended Complaint:

Plaintiffs TRAVIS and AIMEE KNORR (hereinafter “Plaintiffs”) complain against Defendants DWIGHT & LINFORD ENTERPRISES, LLC, d/b/a JIMMY JOHN’S (hereinafter “D&L”), JIMMY JOHN’S, LLC, (hereinafter JJ) and INSPIRE BRANDS, INC. (hereinafter “Inspire”) (“JJ” and “Inspire” collectively hereinafter “Jimmy John’s Corporate”) (all defendants collectively hereinafter “Defendants” or “Jimmy John’s”), as follows:

PARTIES

  1. Travis and Aimee Knorr are residents of the State of Utah.
  2. Dwight & Linford Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a, Jimmy John’s is a limited liability company, organized and existing under the laws of the State of Utah, with its corporate headquarters and principal place of business located at 81 West 3300 South, Suite B, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115. At all times relevant to this complaint, Jimmy John’s owned and operated the Jimmy John’s restaurant located at 13893 Bangerter Parkway, Draper, Utah 84020.
  3. Jimmy John’s, LLC is a limited liability company, organized and existing under the laws of the State of Illinois, with its corporate headquarters and principal place of business located at 2212 Fox Drive, Champaign, Illinois 61820. Upon information and belief, at all times relevant to this complaint, Jimmy John’s, LLC operated or franchised all of the more than 2,000 Jimmy John’s restaurants nationwide, including Utah. Jimmy John’s, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Inspire Brands, Inc.
  4. Inspire Brands, Inc. is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, with its corporate headquarters located at 3 Glenlake Parkway NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30328. Inspire Brands, Inc. also maintains a “Support Center” at 2212 Fox Drive, Champaign, Illinois 61820, where the Jimmy John’s, LLC corporate headquarters are located. Upon information and belief, Inspire Brands, Inc. purchased Jimmy John’s, LLC on October 18, 2019, and, at all times relevant to this matter, operated in conjunction with Jimmy John’s, LLC, and previous owner Jimmy John Liautaud as a brand advisor, to act as the franchisor or operator of all Jimmy John’s restaurants nationwide. Inspire Brands, Inc. owns a portfolio of more than 3,500 restaurants in 46 states including Utah.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

  1. The Third Judicial District Court in and for Salt Lake County, State of Utah, has jurisdiction of the claims asserted below, pursuant to the provision of §78A-5-102, Utah Code Ann. (1953 as amended). Both out of state defendants do business within and avail themselves of the laws of the state of Utah, and maintain minimum contacts such that the Court’s assertion of jurisdiction over them would not violate traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.
  2. Venue is properly laid before the Third Judicial District Court in and for Salt Lake County, State of Utah, pursuant to the provisions of §78B-3-307, Utah Code Ann. (1953 as amended), in that the causes of action alleged below arose within Salt Lake County, State of Utah.
  3. Pursuant to Rule 26(c)(3), of the New Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, the amount in controversy exceeds $300,000.00, qualifying this claim for a Tier 3 standard discovery.

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

A HISTORY OF JIMMY JOHN’S AND SPROUTS-RELATED OUTBREAKS

  1. Jimmy John’s Restaurant Alfalfa Sprouts and Iceberg Lettuce coli Outbreak 2008. 28 Sickened – Several University of Colorado students from one sorority became ill with symptoms of bloody diarrhea and cramping. Additional illnesses were reported. E. coliO157:NM(H-) was determined to be the cause. Consumption of alfalfa sprouts at the Jimmy John’s Restaurants in Boulder County and Adams County were risk factors for illness. In addition, the environmental investigation identified Boulder Jimmy John’s food handlers who were infected with E. coli and who had worked while ill. The health department investigation found a number of critical food-handling violations, including inadequate handwashing. The fourteen isolates from confirmed cases were a genetic match to one another.
  2. CW Sprouts, Inc., SunSprout Sprouts, “restaurant chain (Chain A),” a.k.a. Jimmy John’s Salmonella Outbreak 2009. 256 Sickened – In February 2009, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services officials identified six isolates of Salmonella Although this is a common strain of Salmonella, during 2008, only three cases had been detected in Nebraska, and only four subtypes of this outbreak strain had been identified in 2008 in the entire USA. As additional reports were made, a case control study was conducted; alfalfa sprout consumption was found to be significantly related to illness. The initial tracebacks of the sprouts indicated that, although the sprouts had been distributed by various companies, the sprouts from the first cases originated from the same sprouting facility in Omaha, NE. Forty-two of the illnesses beginning on March 15 were attributed to sprout growing facilities in other states; these facilities had obtained seeds from the same seed producer, Caudill Seed Company of Kentucky. The implicated seeds had been sold in many states. On April 26, the FDA and CDC recommended that consumers not eat raw alfalfa sprouts, including sprout blends containing alfalfa sprouts. In May, the FDA alerted sprout growers and retailers that a seed supplier, Caudill Seed Company of Kentucky, was withdrawing all alfalfa seeds with a specific three-digit prefix. Many of the illnesses occurred at restaurant chain (Chain A),” according to the CDC, which generally does not identify specific business.
  3. Multistate Salmonella Outbreak, Tiny Greens Organic Farm, Jimmy John’s Restaurants Alfalfa Sprouts 2010 and Subsequent Removal of Alfalfa Sprouts. 140 Sickened – On December 17, the Illinois Department of Health announced that an investigation was underway into an outbreak of Salmonella, serotype I4,[5],12:i:-. Many of the Illinois patients had eaten alfalfa sprouts at various Jimmy John’s restaurants in the Illinois counties of Adams, Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kankakee, Macon, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, and Will. The sprouts were suspected to be the cause of the illnesses. On December 21 of that year, Jimmy John Liautaud, the owner of the franchised restaurant chain, requested that all franchisees remove all sprouts from the menu as a “precautionary” measure. On December 23, 2010, the CDC revealed that outbreak cases had been detected in other states, and that the outbreak was linked with eating alfalfa sprouts from a nationwide sandwich chain. On December 26, preliminary results of the investigation indicated a link to eating Tiny Greens’ Alfalfa Sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants. The FDA subsequently advised consumers and restaurants to avoid Tiny Greens Brand Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts produced by Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois. The Spicy Sprouts contained alfalfa, radish, and clover sprouts. On January 14, 2011, it was revealed that the FDA had isolated Salmonella serotype I4,[5],12:i:- from a water runoff sample collected from Tiny Greens Organic Farm; the Salmonella isolated was indistinguishable from the outbreak strain. The several FDA inspections of the sprout-growing facility revealed factors that likely led to contamination of the sprouts. Following this outbreak, then owner of Jimmy John’s, LLC, John Liautaud, stated in January that all Jimmy John’s restaurants would replace alfalfa sprouts with clover sprouts because clover sprouts were allegedly easier to clean.
  4. Sprouters Northwest, Jimmy John’s Restaurants Clover Salmonella Sprouts Outbreak 2010. 7 Sickened – Sprouters Northwest of Kent, WA, issued a product recall after the company’s clover sprouts had been implicated in an outbreak of Salmonella Newport in Oregon and Washington. At least some of the cases had consumed clover sprouts while at a Jimmy John’s restaurant. Concurrent with this outbreak, a separate outbreak of Salmonella,serotype I4,[5],12:i:- involving alfalfa sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants was under investigation. The recall of Sprouters Northwest products included clover, clover and onion, spicy sprouts, and deli sprouts. The Sprouters Northwest products had been sold to grocery stores and wholesale operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The FDA inspection found serious sanitary violations.
  5. Multistate coli O26 Outbreak Jimmy John’s Restaurants Sprouts 2012. 29 Sickened – As of April 5, 2012, the CDC reported that 23 of 27 people interviewed reported eating sprouts at one of six Jimmy John’s restaurants in the seven days preceding their illness. Through a traceback investigation, the FDA identified a single lot of seed grown and distributed through multiple sprouting firms that supplied the six Jimmy John’s restaurants that were implicated in the outbreak. In response to the outbreak, Jimmy John, LLC announced in February 2012 that all Jimmy John’s restaurants would remove all raw clover sprouts from their menus permanently. In May 2012, however, at a meeting with the FDA concerning the several outbreaks related to sprouts, Jimmy John’s changed their position and stated that its restaurants would only serve clover sprouts sourced from specific suppliers.
  6. Multistate coli O121 Outbreak Jimmy John’s Restaurants Sprouts 2014. 19 Sickened – A CDC report from August of 2014 stated that 19 people in Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Utah, California, and Washington were infected with E. coli O121. 13 of 16 people interviewed reported having eaten raw clover sprouts prior to falling ill. The FDA’s traceback investigation revealed seven points of service as the locations of these sprout exposures, five of which were identified as Jimmy John’s restaurants. All the sprouts served at those seven locations were sourced from the same grower.
  7. Multi-state Salmonella Montevideo Outbreak Jimmy John’s Restaurant Sprouts 2018. 10 Sickened – The CDC reported that, as of February 28, 2018, eight of the ten people confirmed as part of this outbreak reported eating meals at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin, and all eight reported eating raw sprouts as part of their meals. One of the other individuals reported purchasing sprouts from a grocery store in Minnesota. All the Salmonella Montevideo infections were found to be closely related by whole genome sequencing. According to the FDA, evidence, including invoices collected by local and state agencies, supported a finding that sprouts were the vehicle for this outbreak. On January 19, 2018, Jimmy John’s, LLC emailed its franchisees mandating that all restaurants discontinue the sale of sprouts during the ongoing investigation into this outbreak. See Attachment 1. In a public statement, Jimmy John’s Management stated that the ban on service of sprouts was a precautionary measure instituted while investigating seven food safety complaints in Illinois and Wisconsin during the last week of December 2017.
  8. Iowa 2019 Jimmy John’s Restaurant Sprouts coli O103 Outbreak – Genetically Related to 2020 Utah Outbreak. 22 Sickened – The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that, as of January 7, 2020, 100 percent of the individuals interviewed had reported eating at one or more of 15 Jimmy John’s restaurants. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals determined that several of those restaurants had received clover sprouts during the period of interest. Samples of sprouts and sprout irrigation water collected from the firm that supplied those sprouts yielded a strain of E. coli O103 that was highly related to the outbreak strain by whole genome sequencing and genetic subtyping. Additionally, this outbreak was a whole genome match to the 2020 Jimmy John’s outbreak described below. On or about December 19, 2019, Jimmy John’s, LLC was informed that sandwiches sold at its restaurants were the suspected source of the illnesses in this outbreak, and on December 23, 2019, Inspire Brands was contacted by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals to inform them of the sprouts related outbreak.

THE 2020 JIMMY JOHN’S E. COLI OUTBREAK

  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multi-state outbreak of coli O103 infections linked to clover sprouts.
  2. As of April 22, 2020, 51 people infected with the outbreak strain of coli O103 have been reported from ten states: Florida (1); Idaho (1); Illinois (7); Iowa (3); Missouri (1); New York (1); Texas (1); Utah (34); Virginia (1); and Wyoming (1).
  3. Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 6, 2020, to March 15, 2020. Ill people range in age from 1 to 79 years, with a median age of 29. Fifty-five percent of ill people were female. Three people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
  4. Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicate that clover sprouts are the source of this outbreak. State and local public health officials are continuing to interview ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures they had in the week before their illness started. Eighteen (56%) of 32 people interviewed reported eating sprouts. Seventeen (63%) of 27 people interviewed reported eating sprouts at a Jimmy John’s restaurant.
  5. Jimmy John’s, LLC and Inspire Brands, Inc. did not report that all of their restaurants had stopped serving clover sprouts until February 24, 2020.
  6. The FDA identified the outbreak strain of coli O103 in samples of Chicago Indoor Garden products that contain sprouts. On March 16, 2020, Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all products containing red clover sprouts.
  7. FDA’s traceback investigation has shown that a common seed lot was used to grow the sprouts recalled by Chicago Indoor Garden and the sprouts that were served at Jimmy John’s locations where people sickened in the current outbreak reported eating. Chicago Indoor Garden sourced seed from the same supplier, International Specialty Supply, also known as International Sprout Holding, Inc., that supplied Reynolds Industries, Inc., the sprouts supplier for the D&L Jimmy John’s restaurants. The same seed lot was also used to grow sprouts linked to an outbreak of the same strain of coli O103 infections in 2019. As of April 22, 2020, this outbreak appears to be over.

JIMMY JOHN’S CORPORATE’S FAILURES THAT CAUSED THE OUTBREAK, AND ITS WILLFUL AND CONSCIOUS DISREGARD OF KNOWN RISKS TO CONSUMER HEALTH

  1. Between 2008 and January 2020, Jimmy John’s restaurants were directly linked to nine foodborne illness outbreaks caused by contaminated sprouts, including the outbreak responsible for Plaintiff’s injuries.
  2. Four times, in response to those outbreaks, Jimmy John’s Corporate has halted the sale of sprouts in all Jimmy John’s owned and franchised restaurants nationwide.
  3. In February 2012, Jimmy John’s, LLC (formerly Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC) stated that all restaurants nationwide would no longer offer sprouts, however, three months later, Jimmy John’s, LLC backtracked at a meeting with the FDA and stated that its restaurants would serve only clover sprouts from specific approved suppliers.
  4. Since that 2012 meeting, the FDA has documented three sprouts related outbreaks linked to Jimmy John’s restaurants where traceback investigations have shown that restaurants used suppliers not on the approved list given to the FDA in 2012.
  5. The 2014 outbreak that sickened 19 people across six states was traced back to one grower that served all five implicated Jimmy John’s locations.
  6. During the 2018 outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo, ten people in Illinois and Wisconsin were sickened, and Jimmy John’s Corporate temporarily halted the sale of sprouts in all owned and franchised restaurants nationwide as a precautionary measure.
  7. Prior to the 2018 outbreak, clover sprouts were a mandatory menu option for all Jimmy John’s restaurant locations. Following the outbreak, Jimmy John’s, LLC wrote franchisee locations indicating that clover sprouts would be reinstituted as an optional menu item, and that all Jimmy John’s, LLC owned restaurants would offer clover sprouts.
  8. Jimmy John’s Corporate retains control over all other menu items and offered extras, as well as the décor and signage in all owned and franchised restaurants.
  9. All Jimmy John’s Corporate owned and franchised locations that offered sprouts after the 2018 outbreak were required to display a sign in store warning of the dangers of sprouts consumption and a pop-up warning online as follows:
  10. Jimmy John’s restaurants do not serve any items that would include under-cooked meat, poultry, shellfish, or eggs.
  11. On or about December 19, 2019, Jimmy John’s, LLC was notified of the sprouts outbreak linked to Jimmy John’s restaurants in Iowa.
  12. On December 23, 2019, Inspire Brands was contacted by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals to inform them of the sprouts related outbreak.
  13. On February 21, 2020, in response to the 2019 outbreak, to which the 2020 outbreak has been linked by whole genome sequence matching, the FDA issued a warning letter to Jimmy John’s, LLC with evidence that demonstrates Jimmy John’s, LLC engaged in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale adulterated fresh produce, specifically clover sprouts and cucumbers. See Attachment 2.
  14. Inspire Brands’, rather than Jimmy John’s, LLC, responded to that letter and stated that sprouts had been removed from the menu at all Jimmy John’s restaurants indefinitely. See Attachment 3.
  15. Jimmy John’s Corporate did not report that all of their restaurants had stopped serving sprouts until February 24, 2020.
  16. Jimmy John’s Corporate failed to notify their franchisees of the 2019 Iowa outbreak linked to sprouts despite having specific knowledge of the outbreak in December 2019.
  17. In a deposition of D&L owner Daniel Clark, Mr. Clark stated that, had he known of the 2019 outbreak, or the information contained in the February 21, 2020, letter from the FDA, sprouts would not have been offered at the Jimmy John’s locations owned by D&L in February 2020.
  18. Jimmy John’s Corporate failed to notify franchisees of Jimmy John’s Corporate’s long history of sprouts related outbreaks.
  19. Jimmy John’s Corporate failed to inform franchisees of the many dangers of serving clover sprouts.
  20. Jimmy John’s Corporate failed to inform franchisees of the specific danger of cross contamination from sprouts despite retaining control over the interior design of franchise restaurants, including the location of containers of sprouts within the production line for sandwiches.
  21. In spite of informing the FDA in 2012 that Jimmy John’s locations would only serve clover sprouts from approved vendors, Jimmy John’s Corporate failed to ensure that franchise restaurant locations served sprouts from only approved vendors.
  22. Contrary to significant available data on the dangers posed by serving sprouts, and with knowledge of the several sprouts related outbreaks directly linked to Jimmy John’s restaurants, Jimmy John’s Corporate failed to protect Travis Knorr and other customers at its owned and franchised locations by continuing to make sprouts an available menu item in February 2020, and by failing to sufficiently educate and warn its franchisees of these dangers.

TRAVIS KNORR’S E. COLI ILLNESS

  1. The plaintiffs, by and through this reference, hereby incorporate paragraphs nos. 1 through 23, above, as if fully set forth herein.
  2. Travis and Aimee Knorr reside in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
  3. On February 21, 2020, Travis ordered and paid for a Billy Club sandwich (“the Sandwich”) from the Jimmy John’s located at 13893 Bangerter Parkway in Draper, Utah. The Sandwich was delivered to his workplace, where he subsequently consumed the Sandwich upon its arrival.
  4. On February 26, 2020, Travis began experiencing the onset of coli symptoms, including abdominal cramping and diarrhea. His symptoms eventually grew in severity to the point that he had to leave work early on February 27.
  5. Travis visited his family physician on March 2, 2020, because his symptoms continued unabated. His doctor started him on an antibiotic for a possible difficile infection and also sent him home with a stool kit to be returned for further analysis. Travis returned the stool sample to his physician the next day.
  6. On March 6, 2020, Travis’s physician notified him that his stool sample tested positive for coli.
  7. After learning of his diagnosis, Travis went to Mountain Point Medical Center emergency room. Scans and bloodwork revealed he was suffering from acute kidney failure, and he was admitted on March 8, 2020, for treatment and additional testing and observation.
  8. Travis’s kidney function steadily improved into March 10, when he was finally discharged from the hospital. That same day, the Utah County Health department contacted Travis about his coli exposure and illness.
  9. Unfortunately, Travis began experiencing a relapse of diarrhea and abdominal cramping on March 14, 2020, prompting him to eventually return to his family physician on March 17, 2020. His doctor performed additional kidney function blood tests and collected another stool sample.
  10. Travis also attended an appointment with his gastroenterologist on March 20, who proscribed medication for his stomach cramping.
  11. On March 21, Travis learned that he now suffered from a diff infection. He was prescribed antibiotics, and his doctor also informed him that his E. coli infection had subsided.
  12. Travis continued to recover through the end of March, and, on March 24, 2020, he was again contacted by the Utah County Health Department, who informed him that the coli strain that had sickened him was identified as E. coli O103:H2 and given the cluster codes 202002STEC002 by the Utah County Health Department and 2002IAEXW-1 by CDC.

Motion to add Defendants Exhibits 1-6

______________________

[1] See Plaintiffs’ Proposed Third Amended Complaint Paragraphs 8 – 15, Exhibit 1.

[2] Expert report of Benjamin Chapman, PhD, Exhibit 2 at 5.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id., at 6.

[6] Warning Letter to Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC, Exhibit 3 at 3.

[7] Exhibit 2, at 6.

[8] See Iowa DPH Report – Outbreak of E. coli O103 Associated with Clover Sprouts Sold at Jimmy John’s, Exhibit 4.

[9] Id. at 8.

[10] See Deposition of Daniel Clark, Exhibit 5 at 39, 40.

[11] Id.

[12] See Exhibit 3.

[13] Exhibit 3, at 1.

[14] Id., at 3.

[15] See Inspire Brands, Inc. Response to FDA Letter, Exhibit 6.

[16] Exhibit 2, at 1.

[17] See Sprout-associated–outbreaks-4-5-21.xls attached to Exhibit 2.

[18] See Exhibit 3.

On October 6, 2021, the FDA reported that it was investigating a 20 person Listeria outbreak linked to an unknown food product.

Interestingly, or perhaps coincidentally, the FDA and Fullei Fresh published the following recall announcement on October 6, 2021:

The purpose of this announcement is to advise you that Fullei Fresh is voluntarily recalling Bean Sprouts and Soy Sprouts as a precaution due to possible exposure to listeria monocytogenes. Affected lots are numbered consecutively between 251 and 271. They were harvested and shipped to distributors between September 14 and October 5, 2021. Both conventional and organic bean sprouts as well as soy sprouts are voluntarily recalled. No other products are affected at this time as they are grown and packed in segregated departments.

Fullei Fresh conventional bean sprouts are sold in 5 lb bulk, 10 lb bulk and 8 oz retail packs. Organic bean sprouts are sold in 5 lb bulk and 4 oz retail packs. Soy sprouts are sold in 5 lb bulk and 10 lb bulk. The lot numbers are printed on the retail packs and on bulk cardboard boxes in the barcode (the last 3 digits.)

For those that pay attention to outbreaks and FDA recalls, usually the recall, without illnesses, are prompted by a positive product or environmental test.  Here, we only got:

There have been no known illnesses reported in connection with these products.

So, is there a link between a Listeria outbreak and the recall of Bean Sprouts and Soy Sprouts?

Listeria:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeriaoutbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $800 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as lettuce, polony, deli meat, cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.

If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.

When the CDC declared the Jimmy John’s E. coli O103 outbreak over at a total of 51 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 reported from 10 states, that included only 3 counted in Iowa.

According to the CDC, illnesses started on dates ranging from January 6, 2020, to March 15, 2020. Ill people ranged in age from 1 to 79 years, with a median age of 29 years. Fifty-five percent of ill people were female. Of 41 ill people with information available, 3 were hospitalized and no deaths were reported.

A few moments ago a report from the Iowa Department of Health report landed in my inbox showing that 22 from Iowa were sickened.

Here is the summary:

In December, 2019, 22 Iowans became ill with Escherichia coli (E.coli) O103 after consuming clover sprouts produced by Sprouts Unlimited Wholesale Foods, Inc (Sprouts Unlimited) and sold on sandwiches at Jimmy John’s restaurants. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) first identified this outbreak through routine surveillance on December 18, 2019 when four individuals reported consuming sandwiches sold at various Jimmy John’s locations.

Iowa’s food retail and manufacturing regulatory agency, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), notified Jimmy John’s district office of the findings. Based on the epidemiological information, Sprouts Unlimited voluntarily ceased further distribution of clover sprouts pending additional information.

On February 21, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to Jimmy John’s with evidence that demonstrates Jimmy John’s engaged in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale adulterated fresh produce, specifically clover sprouts and cucumbers.

The FDA also issued a warning letter to Sprouts Unlimited on February 25, 2020 for supplying sprouts to Jimmy John’s which lead to this outbreak and for several violations observed during FDA’s inspection of Sprouts Unlimited on December 31, 2019.

Here is the full report: 2002IAEXW-1 Outbreak – Iowa DPH Final Report

As of April 22, 2020, this outbreak was over according to the CDC.

51 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 were reported from 10 states.3 people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicated that clover sprouts were the source of this outbreak.On March 16, 2020, Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all products containing red clover sprouts.

Jimmy John’s LLC reported that all of its restaurants stopped serving clover sprouts on February 24, 2020.

However, litigation – especially in Utah were the vast majority of cases occurred continues.  The Court granted our motion to amend the complaint to add a claim for punitive damages.

For those that want to read the blow by blow, read the below:

Knorr – Motion for Leave to file Second Amended Complaint add punitive damages 4-19-21

Knorr, Travis – Chapman – Jimmy Johns – Declaration-signed copy

Chapman-Jimmy-Johns-expert-report-4-5-21-final

Jimmy Johns – Sprout-Associated-Outbreaks-4-12-21

Ruling – Knorr

Thank you www.barfblog.com

As far back as September 1998, FDA issued a warning against sprouts urging:

Children, pregnant women and the elderly should not eat alfalfa sprouts until growers find a way to reduce the risk of a potentially deadly bacteria that infects some sprouts, the Food and Drug Administration said this week. The FDA, which is investigating sprout industry practices, said children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating sprouts. The agency’s statement, issued Monday, repeated similar but little-noticed advice the U.S. Centers for Disease Control gave to doctors and researchers a year ago.

Here is the CDC warning :

Sprouts Not Healthy Food for Everyone

Children, the elderly, and persons whose immune systems are not functioning well should not eat raw sprouts, because current treatments of seeds and sprouts cannot get rid of all bacteria present. Persons who are at high risk for complications from foodborne illness should probably not eat raw sprouts, according to an article in the current issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s peer-reviewed journal, which tracks new and reemerging infectious diseases worldwide. Although sprouts are often considered a “health food,” the warm, humid conditions needed for growing sprouts from seeds are also ideal for bacteria to flourish. Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria can grow to high levels without affecting the appearance of the sprouts. Researchers have treated both seeds and sprouts with heat or washed them in solutions of chlorine, alcohol, and other chemicals. Some of these disinfectants reduced the levels of bacteria, but a potential hazard remained, especially for persons with weak immune systems. High temperatures that would kill the bacteria on the seeds would also keep them from sprouting. Until an effective way is found to prevent illness from sprouts, they should be eaten with caution, if at all.

I think it is time for a warning label — past time.

Foodborne Illness Outbreaks Associated with Sprouts
Date Causative Agent Illnesses Reported Source Country of Outbreak
Jan  2020 – Mar 2020 E. coli O103 51 Clover sprouts Multistate, U.S.: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2020/o103h2-02-20/index.html
Nov  2019 – Dec 2019 E. coli O103 22 Clover sprouts Iowa, U.S.: https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/jimmy-johns-franchise-llc-599962-02212020
Dec  2017-Jan 2018 SalmonellaMontevideo 10 Sprouts Multistate, U.S.: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/montevideo-01-18/index.html
May-July 2016 Salmonella 30 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/fresh-sprouts-from-denver-linked-to-9-state-outbreak/#.WXeKjBTZqf4
Apr. 2016 SalmonellaSaintpaul 244 Mung bean sprouts Australia.: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/extra-five-cases-in-sa-for-bean-sprout-contamination/news-story/a3579929ba487a9acbcfaa46b58afcb7
 Jan. 2016 E. coli O157 11 Alfalfa sprouts Jack & The Green Sprouts (Wisconsin) Minnesota, U.S.: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2016/o157-02-16/index.html
Nov. 2015- Jan. 2016 SalmonellaMuenchen  13 Alfalfa sprouts from Sweetwater Farms (Kansas) Multistate, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/enteritidis-11-14/; http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm424426.htm
Sep. 2014 SalmonllaEnteriditis 115 Bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods Multistate, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/enteritidis-11-14/; http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm424426.htm
Jun.-Aug. 2014 Listeria monocytogenes 5 Mung brean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products Illinois and Michigan, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/bean-sprouts-11-14/index.html; http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm422562.htm
May. 2014 E. coli O121 19 Raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho are likely source Washington and Idaho, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2014/o121-05-14/index.html; http://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/2014NewsReleases/14070CloverSproutsSourceofEColiOutbreak
Jul. 2012 SalmonellaCubana 19 Sprouts, unspecified Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Mar. 2012 Listeria monocytogenes 6 Sprouts, unspecified Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Dec. 2011-Feb. 2012 E. coli O26 29 Raw clover sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants is the likely cause of this outbreak Multistate, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2012/O26-02-12/index.html; http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Aug. 2011 SalmonellaAgona 7 Sprouts, unspecified Kansas, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Apr.-Jul. 2011 SalmonellaEnteritidis 27 Alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprout produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey and Washington, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/sprouts-enteritidis0611/070611/index.html;  http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
May-Jul. 2011 E. coli O104:H4 4,075
Bean sprouts Europe, Canada and U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6250a3.htm; Buchholz, U., Bernard, H., Werber, D., Böhmer, M. M., Remschmidt, C., Wilking, H., … & Kühne, M. (2011). German outbreak of Escherichia coli O104: H4 associated with sprouts. New England Journal of Medicine, 365(19), 1763-1770. https://www-s.med.illinois.edu/m2/epidemiology/LiteratureCritique/pdf/Buchholz_2011.pdf
Apr. 2011 SalmonellaMuenchen 7 Clover sprouts Michigan, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011 SalmonellaNewport 9 Clover sprouts produced by Sprouters Northwest, Inc., of Kent, WA Oregon and Washington, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx;http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1500/NewsReleases/2011/11-001CloverSproutsRecall.pdf
Dec. 2010 SalmonellaCubana 3 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx 
Nov. 2010-
Feb. 2011
Salmonellaserotype I 4,[5],12:i:- 140 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/i4512i-/021011/index.html; http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Aug.-Oct. 2010 SalmonellaBareilly 190 Bean sprouts U.K.:
http://www.hpa.org.uk:80/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1287143210927?p=1259152466069
Mar.-Jun. 2010 SalmonellaNewport 44 Alfalfa sprouts produced by J.H. Caldwell and Sons Inc. of Maywood, CA Multistate, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/newport/; http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Feb. 2010 unknown 4 Sprouts, unspecified Colorado, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Aug. 2009 SalmonellaTyphimurium 14 Alfalfa sprouts Michigan, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Jun. 2009 SalmonellaBovismorbificans 42 Ready-to-eat alfalfa sprouts Finland: Rimhanen-Finne, R., Niskanen, T., Lienemann, T., Johansson, T., Sjöman, M., Korhonen, T., Guedes, S., Kuronen, H., Virtanen, M. J., Mäkinen, J., Jokinen, J., Siitonen, A. and Kuusi, M. (2011), A Nationwide Outbreak of Salmonella Bovismorbificans Associated with Sprouted Alfalfa Seeds in Finland, 2009. Zoonoses and Public Health, 58: 589–596. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1863-2378.2011.01408.x/abstract
Apr.-Jul. 2009 SalmonellaCubana 14 Onion sprouts and mixed onion/alfalfa sprout Canada:http://www.bccdc.ca/resourcematerials/newsandalerts/healthalerts/2009HealthAlerts/SalmonellaCubanaOutbreak_aug24.htm
Apr. 2009 SalmonellaCubana 2 Sprouts, unspecified Minnesota, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Feb.-May. 2009 Salmonella Saintpaul 256 Raw alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/saintpaul/alfalfa/; http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5818a4.htm
Feb. 2009 SalmonellaOranienberg 25 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Sep. 2008 E. coli O157:NM 21 Alfalfa sprouts; iceberg lettuc, unspecified Colorado, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Jul. 2008 SalmonellaTyphimurium 24 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/default.aspx; http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/archiverecalls/2008/ucm112494.htm
Mar. 2008 Listeria monocytogenes 20 Sprouts, unspecified Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Jul.-Oct. 2007 SalmonellaWeltevreden 45 Alfalfa sprouts Denmark, Norway and Finland: Emberland KE, Ethelberg S, Kuusi M, Vold L, Jensvoll L, Lindstedt BA, Nygård K, Kjelsø C, Torpdahl M, Sørensen G, Jensen T, Lukinmaa S, Niskanen T, Kapperud G. Outbreak of Salmonella Weltevreden infections in Norway, Denmark and Finland associated with alfalfa sprouts, July-October 2007. Euro Surveill. 2007;12(48):pii=3321. Available online: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=3321 
Jul.-Aug. 2007 SalmonellaStanley 44 Alfalfa sprouts Sweden: Werner S, Boman K, Einemo I, Erntell M, de Jong B, Lindqvist A, Löfdahl M, Löfdahl S, Meeuwisse A, Ohlen G, Olsson M, Stamer U, Sellström E, Andersson Y. Outbreak of Salmonella Stanley in Sweden associated with alfalfa sprouts, July-August 2007. Euro Surveill. 2007;12(42):pii=3291. Available online: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=3291 
Apr. 2007 SalmonellaMbandaka 15 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Feb. 2006 SalmonellaBraenderup 4 Bean sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Nov. 2005 SalmonellaOranienberg 125 Alfalfa sprouts Australia: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-cdi3003b.htm
Nov. 2005 SalmonellaBraenderup 2 Mung sprouts Massachusetts, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Oct.-Dec. 2005 Salmonella spp. 648 Mung sprouts Canada: http://news.ontario.ca/archive/en/2005/12/14/Update-on-Salmonella-Outbreak.html; Outbreak of Salmonella entertidis phage type 13 associated with mung bean sprouts in Ontario, 2005. Outbreak Investigation. May 17. 2006. http://www.sproutnet.com/pdfs/Toronto-Mung-2005.pdf
Apr. 2004 E. coli O157:NM 2 Alfalfa sprouts Georgia, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Apr. 2004 SalmonellaBovismorbificans 35 Raw alfalfa sprouts produced by Sprouters Northwest, Inc., of Kent, WA Oregon and Washington, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx; http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2004/ucm108307.htm
Nov. 2003 SalmonellaChester 26 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Jul. 2003 E. coli O157:NM 13 Alfalfa sprouts Colorado, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx; D. D. Ferguson, J. Scheftel, A. Cronquist, K. Smith, A. Woo-Ming, E. Anderson J. Knutsen, A. K. De and K. Gershman (2005). Temporally distinct Escherichia coli O157 outbreaks associated with alfalfa sprouts linked to a common seed source – Colorado and Minnesota, 2003. Epidemiology and Infection, 133, pp 439-447. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268804003589
Feb. 2003 SalmonellaSaintpaul 16 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Feb. 2003 E. coli O157:H7 7 Alfalfa sprouts Minnesota, U.S.: D. D. Ferguson, J. Scheftel, A. Cronquist, K. Smith, A. Woo-Ming, E. Anderson J. Knutsen, A. K. De and K. Gershman (2005). Temporally distinct Escherichia coli O157 outbreaks associated with alfalfa sprouts linked to a common seed source – Colorado and Minnesota, 2003. Epidemiology and Infection, 133, pp 439-447. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268804003589
Jan. 2003 E. coli O157:H7 20 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Jul. 2002 E. coli O157:H7 5 Alfalfa sprouts California, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Apr. 2001 SalmonellaEntertidis 35 Mung sprouts Florida, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Feb. 2001 SalmonellaKottbus 32 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Jan. 2001 SalmonellaEntertidis 22 Mung sprouts Hawaii, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Feb.-Mar. 2001 SalmonellaEnteritidis 84 Mung sprouts Canada: Honish, L., & Nguyen, Q. (2001). Outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis phage type 913 gastroenteritis associated with mung bean sprouts–Edmonton, 2001. Canada communicable disease report= Relevé des maladies transmissibles au Canada, 27(18), 151. http://www.sproutnet.com/Outbreak-of-Salmonella-in-Canada
Oct. 2001 unknown 2 Alfalfa sprouts Florida, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Nov. 2000 S. Enteritidis phage type 4b 12 Bean sprouts Netherlands: van Duynhoven, Y. T., Widdowson, M. A., de Jager, C. M., Fernandes, T., Neppelenbroek, S., van den Brandhof, W., … & van Pelt, W. (2002). Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis phage type 4b outbreak associated with bean sprouts. Emerging infectious diseases, 8(4), 440. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730240/
May. 2000 Salmonella enterica 3 Alfalfa spouts (suspected) Florida, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
2000 SalmonellaEnteritidis 75 Mung sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Apr.-Jun. 2000 SalmonellaEnteritidis 12 Mung sprouts Canada: Harb, J., Isaacs, S., Fyfe, M., Crowe, L., Slater, B., Ahmed, R., … & Hockin, J. (2003). Outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis phage type 11B in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, June 2000. Canada communicable disease report= Relevé des maladies transmissibles au Canada, 29(14), 125. http://www.sproutnet.com/Outbreak-of-Salmonella-Enteritidis
Aug.-Sep. 1999 SalmonllaMuenchen 157 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx; Proctor, M. E., Hamacher, M., Tortorello, M. L., Archer, J. R., & Davis, J. P. (2001). Multistate outbreak of Salmonella serovar Muenchen infections associated with alfalfa sprouts grown from seeds pretreated with calcium hypochlorite. Journal of clinical microbiology, 39(10), 3461-3465.
May. 1999 SalmonellaSaintpaul 36 Clover sprouts California, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Jan. 1999 SalmonellaMbandaka 83 Alfalfa sprouts Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx; Gill, C. J., Keene, W. E., Mohle-Boetani, J. C., Farrar, J. A., Waller, P. L., Hahn, C. G., & Cieslak, P. R. (2003). Alfalfa seed decontamination in Salmonella outbreak. Emerging infectious diseases, 9(4), 474. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957971/
Jan. 1999 SalmonellaTyphimurium 112 Clover sprouts Colorado, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx; Brooks, J. T., Rowe, S. Y., Shillam, P., Heltzel, D. M., Hunter, S. B., Slutsker, L., … & Luby, S. P. (2001). Salmonella Typhimurium infections transmitted by chlorine-pretreated clover sprout seeds. American journal of epidemiology, 154(11), 1020-1028. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/154/11/1020.short
Aug.-Sep. 1999 S. paratyphi B var java 51 Alfalfa sprouts Canada: Stratton, J., Stefaniw, L., Grimsrud, K., Werker, D. H., Ellis, A., Ashton, E., … & Jensen, B. (2001). Outbreak of Salmonella paratyphi B var java due to contaminated alfalfa sprouts in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Canada communicable disease report= Relevé des maladies transmissibles au Canada, 27(16), 133. http://www.sproutnet.com/Outbreak-of-Salmonella-Paratyphi
Jun. 1998 E. coli O157:NM 8 Alfalfa sprouts California, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
May. 1998 SalmonellaHavana and Cubana 40 Alfalfa sprouts (Havana suspected) Multistate, U.S.: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx
Jun.-Jul. 1997 E. coli O157:H7 82 Alfalfa sprouts Michigan and Virginia, U.S.: Breuer, T., Benkel, D. H., Shapiro, R. L., Hall, W. N., Winnett, M. M., Linn, M. J., … & Team, I. (2001). A multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157: H7 infections linked to alfalfa sprouts grown from contaminated seeds. Emerging infectious diseases, 7(6), 977. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631892/pdf/11747724.pdf; http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00048994.htm
1997 Salmonella Infantis
and Anatum
109 Alfalfa sprouts Kansas and Missouri, U.S.: Taormina, P. J., Beuchat, L. R., & Slutsker, L. (1999). Infections associated with eating seed sprouts: an international concern. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5(5), 626. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627711/pdf/10511518.pdf; Glynn, M. K., Patrick, S., & Wuhib, T. (1998, April). When health food isn’t so healthy—an outbreak of Salmonella serotypes Anatum and Infantis associated with eating contaminated sprouts, Kansas and Missouri, 1997. In 47th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sep. 1997-Jul. 1998 SalmonellaSenftenberg 60 Alfalfa sprouts California and Nevada, U.S.: Mohle-Boetani, J. C., Farrar, J. A., Werner, S. B., Minassian, D., Bryant, R., Abbott, S., … & Vugia, D. J. (2001). Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella infections associated with sprouts in California, 1996–1998. Annals of Internal Medicine, 135(4), 239-247. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=714688
1997 SalmonellaMeleagridis 78 Alfalfa sprouts Canada: Taormina, P. J., Beuchat, L. R., & Slutsker, L. (1999). Infections associated with eating seed sprouts: an international concern. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5(5), 626. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627711/pdf/10511518.pdf
1997 E. coli O157:H7 126 Radish sprouts Japan: Taormina, P. J., Beuchat, L. R., & Slutsker, L. (1999). Infections associated with eating seed sprouts: an international concern. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5(5), 626. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627711/pdf/10511518.pdf; Gutierrez, E. (1997). Japan prepares as 0157 strikes again. The Lancet, 349(9059), 1156.
May.-Jul. 1996  Salmonella Meleagridis and Montevideo 500 Alfalfa and clover sprouts California and Nevada, U.S.: Mohle-Boetani, J. C., Farrar, J. A., Werner, S. B., Minassian, D., Bryant, R., Abbott, S., … & Vugia, D. J. (2001). Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella infections associated with sprouts in California, 1996–1998. Annals of Internal Medicine, 135(4), 239-247. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=714688
1996 E. coli O157:H7 6,000 Radish sprouts Japan: Watanabe, Y., Ozasa, K., Mermin, J. H., Griffin, P. M., Masuda, K., Imashuku, S., & Sawada, T. (1999). Factory outbreak of Escherichia coli O157: H7 infection in Japan. Emerging infectious diseases, 5(3), 424. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2640759/pdf/10341179.pdf
1995-1996 SalmonellaNewport 133 Alfalfa sprouts U.S., Canada and Denmark: Taormina, P. J., Beuchat, L. R., & Slutsker, L. (1999). Infections associated with eating seed sprouts: an international concern. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5(5), 626. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627711/pdf/10511518.pdf. Van Beneden, C. A., Keene, W. E., Strang, R. A., Werker, D. H., King, A. S., Mahon, B., … & Fleming, D. (1999). Multinational outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Newport infections due to contaminated alfalfa sprouts. Jama, 281(2), 158-162.; Wegener HC, Baggesen DL, Neimann J, Nielsen SV. An outbreak of human salmonellosis in Denmark caused by alfalfa sprouts. In: Proceedings and abstracts of the International Symposium on Salmonella and Salmonellosis; Ploufragan, France; May 20-22, 1997:587-589.
1995 SalmonellaStanley 242 Alfalfa sprouts Finland and U.S.: Mahon, B. E., Pönkä, A., Hall, W. N., Komatsu, K., Dietrich, S. E., Siitonen, A., … & Slutsker, L. (1997). An international outbreak of Salmonella infections caused by alfalfa sprouts grown from contaminated seeds. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 175(4), 876-882. http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/175/4/876.full.pdf?origin=publication_detail
1994 SalmonellaNewport 154 Alfalfa sprouts Denmark: WHO Surveillance Programe for Control of Foodborne Infections and Intoxications in Europe, 7th Report: Denmark 1993-1998. http://www.bfr.bund.de/internet/7threport/CRs/den.pdf
1994 SalmonellaBovismorbificans 595 Australian alfalfa sprouts seed Sweden and Finland: Taormina, P. J., Beuchat, L. R., & Slutsker, L. (1999). Infections associated with eating seed sprouts: an international concern. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5(5), 626. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627711/pdf/10511518.pdf; Puohiniemi, R., Heiskanen, T., & Siitonen, A. (1997). Molecular epidemiology of two international sprout-borne Salmonella outbreaks. Journal of clinical microbiology, 35(10), 2487-2491. http://jcm.asm.org/content/35/10/2487.full.pdf; Pönkä, A., Andersson, Y., Siitonen, A., de Jong, B., Jahkola, M., Haikala, O., … & Pakkala, P. (1995). Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts. The Lancet, 345(8947), 462-463.
Oct. 1990 SalmonellaAnatum 15 Alfalfa sprouts Washington, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/outbreaknet/pdf/surveillance/1990_linelist.pdf
Oct. 1990 unknown 32 Alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, lettuce Washington, U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/outbreaknet/pdf/surveillance/1990_linelist.pdf
1989 Salmonella Goldcoast 31 Cress sprouts U.K.: Taormina, P. J., Beuchat, L. R., & Slutsker, L. (1999). Infections associated with eating seed sprouts: an international concern. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5(5), 626. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627711/pdf/10511518.pdf; Joce, R., O’Sullivan, D. G., Strong, C., Rowe, B., Hall, M. L. M., & Threlfall, E. J. (1990). A national outbreak of Salmonella Gold-Coast. Commun Dis Rep CDR Rev, 4, 3-4.
1988 Salmonella Saintpaul and Virchow PT34(7cases) 143 Mung sprouts U.K.: O’mahony, M., Cowden, J., Smyth, B., Lynch, D., Hall, M., Rowe, B., … & Bartlett, C. L. R. (1990). An outbreak of Salmonella saint-paul infection associated with beansprouts. Epidemiology and infection, 104(02), 229-235. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2271762/pdf/epidinfect00020-0070.pdf
1973 Bacillus cereus 4 Soy, cress, mustard sprouts U.S.: Portnoy, B. L., Goepfert, J. M., & Harmon, S. M. (1976). An outbreak of Bacillus cereus food poisoning resulting from contaminated vegetable sprouts. American journal of epidemiology, 103(6), 589-594.

 

Up from last months count of 39 , the CDC announced today that a total of 51 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 were reported from 10 states – Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Florida, Virginia and New York.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 6, 2020, to March 15, 2020. Ill people ranged in age from 1 to 79 years, with a median age of 29 years. Fifty-five percent of ill people were female. Of 41 ill people with information available, 3 were hospitalized and no deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicated that clover sprouts were the source of this outbreak.

Seventeen (63%) of 27 people interviewed reported eating sprouts at a Jimmy John’s restaurant. Jimmy John’s LLC reported that all of their restaurants stopped serving clover sprouts on February 24, 2020. Clover sprouts are no longer available at Jimmy John’s restaurants.

Additionally, FDA identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 in samples of Chicago Indoor Garden products that contain sprouts. On March 16, 2020, Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all products containing red clover sprouts.

FDA’s traceback investigationexternal icon showed that a common seed lot was used to grow both the sprouts recalled by Chicago Indoor Garden and sprouts that were served at some Jimmy John’s locations. The same seed lot was also used to grow sprouts linked to an outbreak of the same strain of E. coli O103 infections in 2019.

We have filed lawsuits in Utah and Iowa – more to follow.

As of March 17, 2020, 39 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from six states – Florida (1), Illinois (6), Iowa (3), Missouri (1), Texas (1) and Utah (27).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 6, 2020, to March 2, 2020. Ill people range in age from 1 to 79 years, with a median age of 28. Fifty-three percent of ill people are female. Two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicate that clover sprouts are the source of this outbreak.

State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures they had in the week before their illness started. Sixteen (59%) of 27 people interviewed reported eating sprouts. This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 8% reported eating sprouts in the week before they were interviewed. Fourteen (58%) of 24 people interviewed reported eating sprouts at a Jimmy John’s restaurant.

Jimmy John’s LLC reported that all of their restaurants stopped serving clover sprouts on February 24, 2020. Clover sprouts should no longer be available at Jimmy John’s restaurants.

FDA identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 in samples of Chicago Indoor Garden products that contain sprouts. On March 16, 2020, Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all products containing red clover sprouts.

FDA’s traceback investigation has shown that a common seed lot was used to grow the sprouts recalled by Chicago Indoor Garden and the sprouts that were served at Jimmy John’s locations where people sickened in the current outbreak reported eating. The same seed lot was also used to grow sprouts linked to an outbreak of the same strain of E. coli O103 infections in 2019.

Jimmy John’s LLC reported that all of its restaurants stopped serving clover sprouts on February 24, 2020. Investigators worked to trace the source of the clover sprouts served at the Jimmy John’s restaurants where sick people ate, and to determine whether other restaurants or retailers received the same clover sprouts.

FDA is now recommending that consumers not eat the following sprout-containing items from Chicago Indoor Garden, Chicago, IL, with Best By dates between December 1, 2019 and March 12, 2020: red clover (with and without non-GMO labels), sprout salad, mixed greens, and spring salad. Labels of the products are below.

The FDA’s analysis of a sample of this firm’s product identified the presence of E. coli O103. Whole Genome Sequencing of this bacteria showed that it matches the outbreak strain.

Generally, it is recommended that children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind.

FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, are investigating an outbreak of 14 illnesses caused by E. coli O103 in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Utah likely linked to clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s.

As the outbreak investigation progresses, the FDA will continue in its traceback investigation to determine where implicated sprouts have been distributed and will continue monitoring for additional illnesses associated with this outbreak.

As of February 25, 2020, 14 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from five states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 6, 2020, to February 11, 2020. Ill people range in age from 1 to 79 years, with a median age of 28. Sixty-two percent of ill people are male. No hospitalizations and no deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 3 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of E. coli Infection for more details.

Epidemiologic evidence indicates that sprouts from Jimmy John’s restaurants are a likely source of this outbreak.

State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures in the week before their illness started. Five of six people (83%) interviewed reported eating at a Jimmy John’s restaurant. Of the six people interviewed, four (67%) remembered eating sprouts on a sandwich from Jimmy John’s.

Jimmy John’s LLC reported that all of its restaurants stopped serving clover sprouts on February 24, 2020. Investigators are working to trace the source of the clover sprouts served at the Jimmy John’s restaurants where sick people ate, and to determine whether other restaurants or retailers received the same clover sprouts.

According to the FDA, Sprouts Unlimited of Marion Iowa is recalling clover spouts in 4 oz packages because it may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O103 bacteria (E. coli O103).

The affected batches of clover sprouts were distributed to Hy Vee Food stores, Fareway Food Stores and Jimmy John’s restaurants in Iowa.

The sprouts available at retail were packaged in in pint containers from Sprouts Unlimited Inc. with a blue label on the lid. The UPC code 7 32684 00013 6 is stamped on the bottom right side of the label.

Sprouts Unlimited Inc. became aware of the potential contamination after receiving information from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Des Moines, IA that a cluster of E. coli O103 illnesses epidemiologically linked to clover sprouts from Sprouts Unlimited Inc. An investigation and further tests are being conducted to determine the source.

Sprouts have long been a problem as my friend Doug has repeatedly warned on Barfblog:

Kate Bernot of The Take Out wrote, “If you ask anyone in food safety, ‘What is the one food you will not eat?’ Raw sprouts tops the list, always.”

That’s one of the first sentences out of the mouth of Doug Powell, a former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog, a frequently updated site that publishes evidence-based opinions on food safety.

I’ve asked him whether food-safety fears about sprouts—those tiny, crunchy squiggles in your salad or sandwich—are well-founded. He tells me the public isn’t concerned enough about them.

“Risk is inherent in the nature of the product which is why Walmart and Costco got rid of them,” he says. (Kroger also stopped selling sprouts in 2012.) “This is not a new problem. It’s been going on for decades.”

According to a paper he and three colleagues published in the journal Food Control in 2012, sprouts have been responsible for at least 55 documented foodborne outbreaks affecting more than 15,000 people globally in the past two decades. The Food And Drug Administration tallies 46 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States linked to sprouts between 1996 and 2016, accounting for for 2,474 illnesses, 187 hospitalizations, and three deaths. In an effort to reduce these outbreaks, the FDA in 2017 collected 825 samples of sprouts from across the U.S.; 14 of those tested positive for E. coli, listeria, or Salmonella.

Here’s a table of over 75 sprout-related outbreaks going back to 1973.