Salmonella bacteria
This photo, dated Aug. 7, 2009, under a very high magnification of 12000X, colorized scanning electron micrograph shows a large grouping of gram-negative salmonella bacteria. Reuters/Janice Haney Carr/CDC/Handout

Five people in Wisconsin were sick with salmonella infection after eating raw sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants around the state, the Department of Health Services said Friday. An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was launched into a multistate outbreak after some cases were also reported in Illinois.

The health department ordered Jimmy John’s to stop selling sprouts and warned customers not to eat sprouts from the sandwich chain until the investigation was completed. Few more people in neighboring Minnesota also contracted the infection from eating sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants.

Jimmy John’s president and CEO James North said in a statement that “food safety and the welfare of our customers are top priorities and not negotiable in our business.” The restaurant chain made the decision to stop serving sprouts across the country “after an investigation in the last 24 hours indicated that sprouts purchased from two growers in Minnesota … could be linked to seven food safety complaints received over a one-week period in December in Illinois and Wisconsin.”

The CDC reported the most recent illness began Jan. 3 and no hospitalizations or deaths have been reported so far. Two Illinois residents became ill on Dec. 20 and 26.

This is not the first time Jimmy John’s came under fire for its spouts. In 2010, 2012 and 2014, the sprouts that needed warm and humid conditions to grow making it conducive to bacteria growth, were linked to salmonella.

What is Salmonellosis?

Salmonellosis is the food poisoning caused by the Salmonella enterica bacterium, which is mostly caused by eating food contaminated with salmonella. Salmonellaserotype typhimurium and Salmonella serotype enteritidis are the most common types in the U.S. Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than in the winter. Beef, poultry, milk, and eggs are most often infected with salmonella.


Symptoms of infection in people include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract problems. Symptoms usually develop with six to 72 hours of consumption, with the illness lasting three to seven days.

Most people recover without treatment, although a doctor should be consulted if a person has eaten sprouts and develops salmonella symptoms, according to CDC.