7. Sprouts salmonella outbreak - The Packer

7. Sprouts salmonella outbreak

12/28/2012 12:17:00 PM
Greg Johnson

It was a tough year for the fresh sprout industry. Sandwich chains dropped the item, and the No. 2 retailer in the U.S., Kroger, stopped carrying them after No.1 Wal-Mart did so the year before.

But the sprout industry formed the Sprout Alliance for Safety and Science, which set growing standards this fall after a slow start.


Jan. 30

Jason’s Deli drops sprouts

By Mike Hornick, Staff Writer

Frequent recalls and concerns about the safety of sprouts have prompted Jason’s Deli to drop them from its menu nationwide for the remainder of 2012.

The change, already in place in some markets, will take full effect sometime in April. Beaumont, Texas-based Jason’s Deli has more than 230 restaurants in 28 states.

It is replacing sprouts with organic spinach and field greens.

“We’ve lost confidence in sprouts,” said Daniel Helfman, Jason’s Deli director of public relations. “We’re all about food safety and the health and wellness of our customers. Bottom line, when you look at what’s occurred with sprouts just in the last year or so, the recalls and warnings, it’s enough that we feel we have to walk away for all of 2012 and maybe 2013.”


Feb. 20

Sandwich chain Jimmy John’s serves up another sproutbreak

By Mike Hornick, Staff Writer

An E. coli outbreak linked to sprouts served at the Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches chain has sickened 12 people in five states — about a year after the chain switched sprout varieties to guard against outbreaks.

Preliminary tests connect the illnesses to raw clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In December 2010, a salmonella outbreak affecting 112 people in 18 states was linked by the CDC to Tiny Greens alfalfa sprouts eaten at Jimmy John’s.

Within a few weeks of the salmonella outbreak, Jimmy John’s dropped alfalfa sprouts from its menu in favor of clover sprouts. Chain founder Jimmy John Liautaud said then that clover sprout seeds are more easily cleaned than alfalfa, reducing the risk of contamination.

But William Keene, senior epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health Division, told The Packer at that time the company wouldn’t benefit from the switch.

“If Jimmy John’s switches to clover sprouts, we’ll start seeing a bunch of clover sprout outbreaks associated with Jimmy John’s,” Keene said in January 2011. “The problem is with sprouting, not whether it comes from this kind of seed or that kind of seed.”

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