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Three cases were reported in Missouri, all inside Greene County. The local infections occurred between January 7th and January 13th. None of these people was hospitalized. Kendra Williams, Administrator of Community Health and Epidemiology with the Springfield- Greene County Health Department, says the cases all shared one common connection.
“Upon interviewing our cases, we discovered that they did in fact all eat sprouts at sandwiches at Jimmy Johns prior to their onset of illness,” Williams said.
According to the health department, the Food and Drug Administration traced the sprouts back to a common lot of clover seeds, which were sold to Jimmy John’s restaurants. The FDA investigation is ongoing.
Williams said there is not a continuing exposure risk at local Jimmy John’s restaurants. She does, however, warn people against eating raw sprouts:
"Sprouts are a high risk food item. We think of them as being healthy, but the problem with sprouts is [that] the seeds, many times, can be contaminated with the bacteria. Sprouts are grown in a very warm, moist environment which is ideal for bacterial growth. Once the sprouts have been harvested, it is difficult to clean the sprout without damaging it,” Williams said.
Williams suggests cooking the sprouts or not eating them at all to minimize the risk of exposure to bacterial infections.
For KSMU News, I’m Brittany Donnellan.