Sandwich Chain Reverses Earlier Statement

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The owner of Jimmy John’s sandwich shops has told franchises in Illinois to pull alfalfa sprouts from menus after a salmonella outbreak sickened dozens.

The Northwest Herald reported that Jimmy John’s owner Jimmy John Liautaud wrote franchisees a letter Tuesday saying that about 88 people were sickened in 15 states and that of 40 interviewed, 28 ate at Jimmy John’s and 25 had sprouts. Liautaud said the chain’s restaurants and main sprout supplier have tested negative.

<a href="; target="_blank"This is a change from a report earlier Tuesday, in which Jimmy John’s said alfalfa sprouts “rock,” and since there had been no official warning from the State of Illinois to pull them, the sprouts were to remain.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed 43 cases of salmonella in ten Illinois counties. They include Cook, Will, McHenry, Kankakee and Winnebago counties, and some downstate counties.

The department says a majority of those sickened ate alfalfa sprouts at Jimmy John’s. Investigations continue.

Liautaud said pulling the sprouts in Illinois is a “precautionary measure” and the company is working closely with the state.

If you have eaten sprouts and experience diarrhea and the fever, the health department advises you to contact your doctor or health department.

Symptoms of salmonellosis — the illness caused by salmonella bacteria — include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or stomach cramps. Illness usually develops within six to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria and generally lasts three to seven days, a news release said.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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