Outbreak Investigation of E. coli O103: Clover Sprouts (February 2020)
Chicago Indoor Garden is recalling all products containing Red Clover sprouts. FDA is recommending that consumers not eat the following recalled items with “Best By” dates between 12/1/2019 and 3/12/2020 that were distributed to Whole Foods throughout the Midwest, Coosemans Chicago Inc., Battaglia Distributing, and Living Waters Farms:
- Red Clover 4oz. clamshell
- Red Clover 2lb. boxes
- Sprout Salad 6oz. clamshell
- Mixed Greens 4oz. clamshell
- Spring Salad 6oz. clamshell
Generally, it is recommended that children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind.
FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, are investigating an outbreak of 39 illnesses caused by E. coli O103 in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Utah linked to clover sprouts..
The FDA's analysis of a sample of Chicago Indoor Garden’s sprouts identified the presence of E. coli O103. Whole Genome Sequencing of this bacteria showed that it matches the current outbreak strain. The sample also matches the outbreak strain from the November-December 2019 outbreak in Iowa, which was associated with sprouts from various Jimmy John’s restaurants.
CDC reported on February 26, 2020 that the epidemiologic evidence indicates that clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s restaurants are a likely source of the illnesses that have occurred since January 2020.
On February 24, 2020, Jimmy John’s had reported to FDA that they had removed sprouts from all of their restaurants.
Subsequently, an FDA traceback investigation has shown that a common seed lot was used to grow the sprouts recalled by Chicago Indoor Garden and sprouts served at some Jimmy John’s locations during this outbreak and the outbreak in 2019.
As the outbreak investigation progresses, the FDA will continue in its traceback investigation to determine where implicated sprouts and seeds have been distributed. FDA and CDC will continue monitoring for additional illnesses associated with this outbreak.