(UPDATED COVERAGE Feb. 27) In response to an E. coli outbreak in the Midwest linked to clover sprouts served at another chain, Erbert and Gerbert’s Sandwich Shops has taken alfalfa sprouts off its menus at all outlets.
Eau Claire, Wis.-based Erbert and Gerbert’s had no problems with its sprouts, but removed the item as a proactive measure Feb. 17, according to a news release. The company has 53 locations.
“The decision to pull the sprouts from our menu system-wide is being made to protect the health of our guests,” Eric Wolfe, chief executive officer at E&G Franchise Systems, Inc., said in the release. “We value the well-being of our customers and felt removing all sprouts from our menu and sandwich line was the best way to eliminate the risk.”
Fourteen people became sick in December and January in an E. coli O26 outbreak that federal health officials recently linked to raw clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. The victims were from Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Missour, Arkansas and Wisconsin. Two were hospitalized; none died.
Champaign, Ill.-based Jimmy John’s has not commented on the outbreak as of Feb. 17, and the supplier of the suspected clover sprouts has not been named. Jimmy John’s switched to clover sprouts after a December 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened 112 was linked to alfalfa sprouts served at the restaurant.
Erbert and Gerbert’s has restaurants in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Georgia and Texas.
Another chain, Jason’s Deli, announced in January that it was dropping sprouts from menus at its 230-plus restaurants through the end of 2012, also as a proactive measure. They cited food safety concerns.