Jimmy John’s Put On Notice For Poison Food; Is Subway Next?

“[I ate an] onion chicken teriyaki sandwich. I started feeling sick an hour after finishing my food. I have been vomiting and having diarrhea for 5 hrs. ” – Reported at Subway, Wade Green Road, Kennesaw, GA by Iwaspoisoned.com User, Feb 25, 2020

Millions of Americans daily eat at chains such at Subway (with more global outlets than any other fast-food brand) and Jimmy John’s. After years of warnings and countless reports of food poisoning, will these companies finally be held accountable? 

FDA says time is up for Jimmy John’s food safety documentation

By Coral Beach on February 25, 2020

Food Safety News – The clock is ticking as far as the FDA is concerned when it comes to food safety at Jimmy John’s 2,800 restaurants. A warning posted today references five outbreaks associated with the chain. It demands specific details from the company president.

In the warning letter, dated Feb. 21, the Food and Drug Administration gave Jimmy John’s president Jim North the standard 15 days to provide information or explain why he can’t, about the 43-state network of restaurants.

The problems outlined in the letter are violations of federal laws.

The evidence, according to the warning, demonstrates that the corporation and restaurants engaged in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale adulterated fresh produce, specifically clover sprouts and cucumbers.

“Although you stated that corrective actions were implemented following the 2019 and 2012 outbreaks, you have not provided FDA with any information demonstrating long-term, sustainable corrections have been implemented throughout your organization to prevent this violation from recurring in the future,” according to the warning letter signed by William R. Weissinger, program division director for the Office of Human and Animal Foods in the FDA’s Division East 6.

“. . . Taken together, these outbreaks, which spanned over the past seven years and impacted no fewer than 17 states, demonstrate the corporate-wide supplier control mechanisms you have in place for receiving fresh produce are inadequate.”

The outbreaks involved Salmonella and E. coli.

“Ate an Italian night club sandwich and then got sick to my stomach and had diarrhea ”– Report Type: Food Poisoning (Diarrhea Nausea); Reported at Jimmy John’s, Ogden, UT by Iwaspoisoned.com User, Feb 26 2020 

In the warning, the FDA officials specifically discuss the chain’s use of fresh, raw sprouts and the dangers they pose. In a May 2012 meeting, at the request of the president of the chain, FDA officials pointed to the company’s situation with clover sprouts.

“During that meeting, you expressed that you would offer only clover sprouts, and to only source clover sprouts from (redacted by FDA) suppliers. Since that corrective action, your firm has been implicated in three additional sprout-related outbreaks. Documents from traceback investigations conducted by FDA, states and local partners demonstrate that in addition to (redacted by FDA) sprouts, Jimmy John’s restaurants are using multiple other sources of sprouts, the warning letter states.

“Although you stated that corrective actions were implemented following the 2019 and 2012 outbreaks, you have not provided FDA with any information demonstrating long-term, sustainable corrections have been implemented throughout your organization to prevent this violation from recurring in the future.”

The FDA wants the president of the Champaign, IL, fast-food chain to provide documentation of policies and procedures being used to meet requirements of the federal law involving the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption. The agency also wants documentation that North has instituted controls to make sure restaurant operators are following the Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

“The introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of food that is adulterated is a prohibited act. . . Further, receipt in interstate commerce of adulterated food is a prohibited act,” the warning letter states. 

“Got sick the next day and that’s all I ate for two days. Was in the bathroom for a day.” – Report Type: Food Poisoning (Diarrhea Nausea); Reported at Jimmy John’s, Airport Center Drive, Jacksonville, FL by Iwaspoisoned.com User, Feb 25 2020

Outbreaks as reported by FDA

1. Nov to Dec 2019; an outbreak of human infections with E. coli O103 (STEC)

Iowa Department of Public Health reported that as of January 7, 2020, a total of 22 people from Iowa were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103. Twenty of the 22 case individuals were interviewed by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Of the case individuals interviewed, 100 % reported eating at one or more of 15 Jimmy John’s restaurants.

Of the 20 interviewed, 45% (9) reporting eating sprouts in the week before their illness. Iowa Department of Public Health states this proportion is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 3.3% reported eating sprouts in the seven days before being interviewed.

Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals ascertained that (b)(4) of the 15 Jimmy John’s restaurants received clover sprouts from (b)(4) clover sprouts during the period of interest.

As further confirmation that sprouts served at your restaurants were the outbreak vehicle, samples of sprouts and sprout irrigation water collected by the firm that supplied the (redacted) Jimmy John’s restaurants yielded a strain of E. coli O103 that was highly related to the outbreak strain by whole genome sequencing, a state-of-the-art genetic subtyping method. The analytical work was done by (redacted).

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: They Won’t Be Going To Jimmy John’s Again

2. An outbreak of human infections with Salmonella Montevideo

The CDC reported that as of February 28, 2018, ten people were infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Montevideo in Illinois (2), Minnesota (2), and Wisconsin (6). Eight (80%) of these ten people ate meals at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin the week before becoming sick.

All eight people reported eating raw sprouts on sandwiches from Jimmy John’s in Illinois and Wisconsin. One ill person in this outbreak reported eating raw sprouts purchased from a grocery store in Minnesota. All the Salmonella Montevideo isolates were closely related by whole genome sequencing.

The evidence supports that (redacted) sprouts for the implicated Jimmy John’s restaurants. (redacted) shown in invoices collected by State and local partners, including the Illinois Department of Public Health, Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, from various Jimmy John’s locations the Minnesota grocery store and/or distributors.

“I ordered a Gargantuan sandwich. It was the only thing I ate that no one else in my family ate, and 12 hours later I was violently sick. ”
Report Type: Food Poisoning (Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting); Reported at Jimmy John’s, North Main Street, Princeton, IL, USA by Iwaspoisoned.com User, Feb 23 2020  

3. The outbreak of human infections with E. coli O102 (STEC)

The CDC reported that as of August 1, 2014, 19 people were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 in Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Utah, California, and Washington. In interviews, 13 (81%) of 16 ill persons reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before becoming ill.

This proportion is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy persons in which no more than 8% reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before they were interviewed.

FDA’s traceback investigation for 11 of the 19 case individuals identified seven points of service [POS] as the likely or most likely locations of their sprout exposures. Five (5) of seven (7) POS were identified as Jimmy John’s restaurants. Clover sprouts served at each POC were sourced from the same sprout grower.

4. The outbreak of human infections with E. coli O157: H7 (STEC)

CDC reported that as of the end of October 2013, eight people from Colorado were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157: H7. Of the eight persons interviewed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 100% report eating a sandwich with raw cucumbers at one of three Jimmy John’s restaurants in the Denver metro area.

No other ingredient exposure was as significant as cucumbers. FDA’s traceback investigation identified that all three Jimmy John’s restaurants involved in the outbreak received cucumbers from the same source during the period of interest.

5. The outbreak of human infections with E. coli O26

CDC reported that as of April 5, 2012, a total of 29 people from eleven states were infected with an outbreak strain of E. coli O26. Of the 27 persons interviewed, 85% (23) report eating sprouts at one of six Jimmy John’s restaurants in the seven days preceding their illness.

Though traceback investigation, FDA identified a single lot of seed grown and distributed by multiple sprouting firms including (b)(4) sprout operations that supplied the six Jimmy John’s restaurants implicated in the outbreak.

Taken 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.

We acknowledge your parent company’s, Inspire Brands, decision in December 2019 to destroy sprouts on hand in all of your Iowa Jimmy John’s restaurants and to implement an additional, one-time cleaning and sanitation at Iowa based Jimmy John’s restaurants; however, neither you nor your parent company proposed any corrective actions to prevent these, or other Jimmy John’s restaurants, from receiving adulterated produce, specifically sprouts.

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“Had a philly cheesesteak with spinich tomatoes lettuce and extra ranch dressing.” Report Type: Food Poisoning (Diarrhea Nausea);
Reported at Subway, Fairborn, OH by Iwaspoisoned.com User, Feb 22 2020 
 

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Feds again withhold information about E. coli outbreak; Subway restaurant chain implicated

By Coral Beach on January 24, 2020

Food Safety News – Federal officials today confirmed another E. coli outbreak that they had previously not revealed to the public. Specific details were not available from the CDC or the FDA, but at least four states have been reported with confirmed patients.

The most likely source of the E. coli O157:H7, reported by 9 of 11 sick people who ate at fast food locations, was lettuce on Subway sandwiches, according to a source close to the investigation. Neither the FDA nor the CDC would confirm that Subway products are involved.

“This is an ongoing investigation into an outbreak that was identified in December,” Food Safety News learned from Peter Cassell, a press officer for the Food and Drug Administration.

“Upon detection, the outbreak had already ended. In an abundance of caution and to try to inform future prevention, we are working to see if we can identify the source. Per CDC and FDA policy, since there were no specific, clear and actionable steps for consumers to take to protect themselves from contaminated food associated with this outbreak, there was and is no current public health advisory.

“Should our investigation conclusively identify a source and/or contributing factors that could inform future prevention, we are committed to publicly communicating these insights.”

The CDC also provided Food Safety News with confirmation of the previously undisclosed outbreak. An official comment from the agency did not include any specific details except that patients were confirmed in four states.

“In early December 2019, CDC, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and four states, began investigating a multistate outbreak of E. Coli O157 infections,” according to a press officer from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“No new illnesses have been reported since CDC initially identified this cluster, and the outbreak is over. CDC is continuing to work with FDA to identify the source of the outbreak.”

The four states are Nevada, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, according to a source close to the investigation.

On Halloween, Food Safety News learned of another E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that the two federal agencies had not revealed to the public. It ended in September and involved romaine lettuce.

Spokespeople from FDA and CDC told Food Safety News that because they believed all of the implicated romaine had passed expiration dates by the time the outbreak was discovered, agency officials did not think the public needed to know.

“I ordered the Turkey Breast and Black forest Ham Foot long with … Lettuce, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Red Onions, Spinach, Cucumbers, Light Mayonnaise for Lunch (12pm). An hour after eating the sub, I started having horrible stomach pains. Then came extreme Nausea, chills, and sweats, diarrhea and bloating … Horrible experience. ” – Report Type: Food Poisoning (Diarrhea Nausea Chills Sweating Stomach Pain Bloating); Reported at Subway, Jefferson Road, Rochester, NY By Iwaspoisoned.com User, Feb 6 2020 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: One Subway Ingredient Linked To Fecal Bacteria; 11 Sick

About E. coli infections

  • Anyone who has eaten at Subway restaurants and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.
  • The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.
  • Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.
  • People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.

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