( Courtesy Produce Market Guide )

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating another E. coli outbreak linked to sprouts from Jimmy John’s restaurants, just days after the FDA warned the company its food safety procedures were lacking in the wake of numerous outbreaks in recent years.

The Feb. 21 warning letter references five outbreaks since 2012 linked to sprouts and cucumbers from Jimmy John’s restaurants, including an E. coli outbreak with 21 patients in Iowa from fall 2019, blamed on the restaurant chain’s clover sprouts.

The new outbreak, announced by the FDA on Feb. 26, involves 14 cases of E. coli in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Utah, also names Jimmy John’s clover sprouts as the likely source. The supplier was not identified, but Sprouts Unlimited Inc., Marion, Iowa, which has supplied Jimmy John’s in the past, also received a warning letter from the FDA in connection with previous Jimmy John’s investigations.

Jimmy John’s told the FDA on Feb. 24 it had removed clover sprouts from all menu items.

“FDA has activated a team to coordinate this outbreak investigation,” according to the FDA notice on the outbreak. “This team is currently collecting records and initiating a traceback investigation to determine the source of the clover sprouts.

The FDA is working with local and state health officials in the states involved in the outbreak, and is investigating whether the implicated sprouts have been distributed elsewhere, according to the release.

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