By Marisa Fusinski
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – Jimmy John’s is one again serving sprouts…to those who dare.
When ordering online, customers must click “OK” on a special message to accept the health risks before adding sprouts to a sandwich.
“The consumption of raw sprouts may result in an increased risk of food borne illness and poses a health risk to everyone,” the popup window reads. “Click ‘Yes’ if you understand the potential risks, or ‘Cancel’ if you’d like to continue without adding sprouts.”
The menu change comes after, in 2012, an Michigan State University student contracted e. coli when she ate a Turkey Tom sub and was hospitalized for three days. She sued the freaky fast food chain, the case was settled, and Jimmy John’s announced the popular topping would be permanently pulled.
But, last month, sprouts returned to East Lansing Jimmy John’s restaurants. They’re now back on the menu at metro Detroit locations, too; and a spokes person told The State News they’d been rolling them back out chain-wide.
MSU alum Kari Mayer, a frequent eater of the Turkey Tom, has mixed feelings about the comeback.
“I am surprised that (sprouts) are back, because they’ve been gone for almost two years…but I just get the cucumbers now and I’m OK with that,” she told CBS Detroit.
“I may put them on … but I understand why the popup comes up as a legality thing,” Mayer added. “I honestly didn’t know it was dangerous to eat uncooked sprouts before all this.”
So, does clicking “OK” on the menu mean Jimmy John’s can’t be sued if there’s further illness linked to the sprouts?
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton says, probably not.
“They’re warning you and that’s OK … but if they had cyanide sprouts or something that’s wrong with them, they could still be liable,” Langton said.
“Assuming they’re good sprouts, you wouldn’t have a case. But the principal is, you can’t sign away someone else’s negligence,” he said. “The issue would be if the food was contaminated.”
Health experts say the risk of e. coli illness is greater with clover sprouts than with some other greens because, when the seeds sprout, they’re tumbled together in a warm, moist environment in a large drum, a breeding ground for bacteria.
In 2012, the US Centers For Disease Control linked a multi-state e. coli outbreak to clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s, including 10 reported cases of illness in Michigan.
CBS Detroit has a call out to Jimmy John’s for comment.