Jimmy John’s has removed sprouts from the menu at all of its restaurants after receiving a warning letter from the FDA Tuesday that links several E. coli outbreaks to the sandwich chain.
The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health officials have been investigating the outbreaks, according to the letter, which accuses the chain of engaging in a pattern of receiving and selling “adulterated fresh produce, specifically clover sprouts and cucumbers.”
Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food Policy and response, said in a statement, that the outbreaks occurred in the last seven years and impacted consumers “in no fewer than 17 states.”
“Jimmy John’s has not demonstrated implementation of long-term sustainable corrections to its supply chain to assure the safety of ingredients used in its products,” Yiannas said. “Americans expect the foods they consume to be safe. We will hold companies accountable when they do not take adequate measures to ensure the safety of the foods they provide.”
In a statement sent to USA TODAY, Jimmy John’s president James North said the sprouts have been removed from restaurants across the nation until further notice.
“This removal was out of an abundance of caution and was not initiated by any known, immediate threat,” North said.
The FDA also posted a warning letter to Sprouts Unlimited Wholesale Foods “for supplying sprouts to Jimmy John’s which sickened 22 people in November and December 2019.”
Sprouts Unlimited, based in Marion, Iowa, did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko