Why Jimmy John's Is In Big Trouble With The FDA

While any fast-food chain — or any establishment selling or serving quantities of food — can find itself implicated in a food poisoning outbreak, sandwich giant Jimmy John's has been the likely culprit in no fewer than five such outbreaks since 2012. What's more, a recent warning letter issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (via CNN) accuses the chain of repeatedly making use of "adulterated fresh produce, specifically clover sprouts and cucumbers."

While Jimmy John's has taken steps to remove the sprouts implicated in a 2019 E. coli outbreak that sickened 22 in Iowa, the FDA letter states that overall, "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."

The food poisoning history at Jimmy John's

The first incident when Jimmy John's contributed to mass food poisoning was a 2012 E. coli outbreak where 29 people in 11 states were sickened. Most of the people who became ill recalled having eaten sandwiches containing sprouts at one of six different Jimmy John's locations in the week before they fell ill. In 2013, all eight people affected by a Colorado E. coli outbreak had eaten raw cucumbers from one of three Denver-area Jimmy John's. The following year, E. coli struck 19 people in six western states, many of whom may have consumed sprouts from Jimmy John's. In 2018, salmonella hit the Upper Midwest, and eight of the 10 infected had eaten Jimmy John's sprouts.

Seeing a pattern here? The FDA sure does. Basically, avoid the sprouts at Jimmy John's! Also the cucumbers. But definitely say no to the sprouts. In fact, maybe just stick to Subway or Jersey Mike's unless and until government food inspectors give Jimmy John's the all-clear, as both E. coli (via Mayo Clinic) and salmonella infections (via Mayo Clinic) have the potential to actually kill you. 

Sure, Jimmy John's does a decent sandwich, but they are not literally to die for.