Erbert and Gerbert's Sandwich Shops have made the decision to remove alfalfa sprouts from their entire menu in all locations across the system.
The decision to remove sprouts was prompted based on recent multi-state outbreaks of serious health issues associated with sprouts.
Although Erbert and Gerbert's Sandwich Shops have not experienced any issues with their current supply of alfalfa sprouts, the system is taking a proactive approach to remove the items from the menu to prevent guests from any potential health risks.
"The decision to pull the sprouts from our menu systemwide is being made to protect the health of our guests," says Eric Wolfe, CEO/president, E&G Franchise Systems, Inc. "We value the well-being of our customers and felt removing all sprouts from our menu and sandwich line was the best way to eliminate the risk."
Over the past 12 months, the number of sprout-related incidences reported from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has increased. The bacteria known as a Shiga-toxin producing strain of E. coli, or STEC, is to blame for this outbreak.
Some types of STEC frequently cause severe disease, including bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). A widespread outbreak of another non-O157 STEC was responsible for devastating illnesses in Europe last summer, a crisis that was eventually traced to contaminated sprout seeds.