An outbreak of Salmonella that caused eight people to become ill was recently linked to raw bean sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. As a precautionary measure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that consumers avoid eating raw sprouts from Jimmy John’s restaurants until the cause of the outbreak has been identified and the sprouts are certified to be safe for human consumption again.
Currently, the CDC is working with state agencies in Illinois and Wisconsin to determine the cause of the outbreak. It is possible to trace a food poisoning outbreak to its source, but this can take time and requires cooperation from multiple parties, including the restaurant or retailer that sold the contaminated food, local health departments, and the infected patients themselves.
The CDC’s Recommendations for Avoiding Illness
Along with its updates about the outbreak, the CDC published useful information to help consumers avoid contracting Salmonella. These include:
- Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and adults with compromised immune systems should not consume raw bean sprouts;
- All bean sprouts should be cooked thoroughly prior to eating to kill any harmful bacteria they could contain; and
- Individuals at risk of becoming ill should request that food handlers not use raw sprouts when preparing their food in restaurants.
Tracing an Outbreak to its Source
When organizations like the CDC trace food poisoning outbreaks, they examine what is known as the “outbreak strain,” the genetic strain of the food poisoning bacteria found in foods tested and in the bodies of individuals afflicted with the illness. In this case, the outbreak strain is Salmonella Montevideo, which was deemed to have made five people ill in Wisconsin.
Tracing a food poisoning outbreak also involves analyzing all the available data about the outbreak to determine where it traveled and exactly when it was transmitted to victims. The more data available about an outbreak, the better equipped the CDC is to trace it to its source. This is why it is so important that individuals who suffer from food poisoning report their illnesses to their local health departments. Even if an individual does not pursue a personal injury claim to seek compensation for his or her damages, he or she can help other avoid becoming ill and support their own claims by adding useful data to the pool that will help stop the outbreak. The Jimmy John’s sprout outbreak has been tentatively linked to two Minnesota growers whose crops came from two seed sub-lots.
Work with an Experienced Arlington Heights Food Poisoning Lawyer
In most cases, food poisoning symptoms subside on their own within a few days to a week. If you suffered a bout of food poisoning and you experienced substantial damages because of the illness, the restaurant or retailer where you purchased the food that made you ill could be liable for your damages. To learn more, contact our team of experienced food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today to set up your initial consultation in our office. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Krista McPhee)