Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Jimmy John's announced it temporarily stopped selling sprouts at all of its sandwich shops after a salmonella outbreak was linked to restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin.
The company, based in Champaign, Ill., said Friday it won't serve the sprouts out of caution. Two Illinois residents became ill on Dec. 20 and 26, the state's Department of Public Health said in a release Friday. And the Wisconsin Department of Health on Friday identified five people infected by the strain.
"Food safety and the welfare of our customers are top priorities and not negotiable in our business," Jimmy John's President and CEO James North said in a statement.
Jimmy John's said "an investigation in the last 24 hours indicated that sprouts purchased from two growers in Minnesota ... could be linked to seven food safety complaints received over a one-week period in December in Illinois and Wisconsin."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are also investigating the incidents.
Jimmy John's sprouts were linked to salmonella outbreaks thee times previously -- in 2010, 2012 and 2014. In 2008, the chain's sprouts were linked to E. coli.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said sprouts should be cooked before consumption and the agency advises children, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems to avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind.
Those sickened by salmonella generally start showing symptoms 12 to 72 hours after ingesting the bacteria, including diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, according to the CDC. Most illnesses don't require treatment and it usually lasts four to seven days, the CDC said.