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A salmonella outbreak from alfalfa sprouts eaten at Illinois Jimmy John's restaurants is being investigated by local and federal health agencies, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. After receiving 46 reports of Illinois residents falling ill from Jimmy John's salmonella related illnesses since Nov. 1, the Illinois Department of Public Health is now investigating alfalfa sprout producers and suppliers.
The FDA has also launched an investigation after a total of 89 people became ill from salmonella nationwide, according to WHAS 11.
The FDA recommends that consumers avoid eating recalled Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts (which contain alfalfa sprouts mixed with radish and clover sprouts) from Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Ill. These sprouts are the ones that were used by Illinois Jimmy John's restaurants and comprise nearly half of the reported illnesses. Jimmy John's restaurants have voluntarily suspended serving sprouts at their Illinois franchise locations after the Jimmy John's salmonella cases were reported.
Currently, there is a lawsuit pending against Jimmy Johns and Tiny Greens in Illinois and a lawsuit will be filed against Sprouters Northwest in Washington, according to the Marler Blog (which is a blog written by the plaintiffs' attorney).
The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are most susceptible to falling ill, the FDA stated. Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections.
Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Typically, infections last 4 to 7 days. Most individuals recover without treatment, but some may be hospitalized if there is severe diarrhea.
Generally, personal injury cases that are based on food poisoning such as salmonella fall under "product liability" legal theory. This means that a manufacturer or seller can be held liable for placing a defective product in the hands of a consumer, according to FindLaw. Injured individuals can typically recover for compensation for medical bills, loss of work, and other items.