Subway apologized Thursday for a salmonella outbreak linked to several of its stores in Illinois, causing 90 people to fall ill.
While the source of the salmonella is still being investigated, Subway spokesman Les Winograd said the company took preventive measures by removing all lettuce, green peppers, red onion and tomatoes from stores located in Illinois as soon as it learned about the outbreak. The ingredients were replaced, and Winograd said the company is “confident the current fresh produce being served is safe to eat.”
“We sincerely apologize to all Subway customers, those who have fallen ill, and those who now may hesitate to come back for a while,” Subway said in a statement. “We are truly sorry for the difficulty this situation has caused … and are working diligently to solve this mystery and to regain your trust.”
Spokesman Winograd added that Subway has reiterated to all of its vendors that “they must follow industry standard Good Agricultural Practices and participate in Good Manufacturing Practices audits for food safety.” Further, he added, they must follow the company’s own guidelines to ensure food safety and quality.
Subway also is reminding all of its employees of the chain’s “in-store hand washing and sanitation procedures, glove usage during food preparation and handling, and strict policy of having only well employees working in the stores.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health is continuing to investigate the cause of the outbreak, which occurred last month. The department said 90 people have been sickened by the outbreak of the Hvittingfoss strain of salmonella, a relatively rare serotype of the bacteria typically associated with only one or two illnesses a year in the state.
Victims of the outbreak have ranged in age between 2 years and 79 years old, the department said. Twenty-eight counties in Illinois have been affected, including Bureau, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Coles, Dekalb, DeWitt, Ford, Fulton, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Macon, Marshall, McLean, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Will and Winnebago.
According to Subway, there are around 1,100 Subway restaurants in Illinois. The company operates more than 32,000 restaurants worldwide, with 23,000 of them in the United States.
Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected].