Monday, October 2, 2023

Milkshakes from Tacoma’s Frugals restaurant caused listeria outbreak killing 3

A representational image showing a milkshake meal at Tacoma’s Frugal restaurant. — Twitter/File

Wahington State Department of Health (DOH) has found a fatal listeria bacteria in the milkshake-making machines at Tacoma’s Frugal restaurant in Olympia. 

The bacterial exposure has killed three people and hospitalised six, as per the official reports by DOH.

The DOH investigators also discovered that the machines used for preparing the milkshakes were not cleaned thoroughly, which possibly led to the outbreak of food-borne listeriosis.

“The Tacoma Frugals stopped using its ice cream machines on 8 August, but listeria can affect people up to 70 days later”, the DOH said.

“Most people who eat food contaminated with listeria will not get seriously sick, but people who are pregnant, aged 65 or older, and those with weakened immune systems should call their health care provider if they ate a Frugals’ Tacoma milkshake between 29 May and 7 August 2023 and have Listeria symptoms,” the DOH said in a press release on Friday adding that “Listeria can be treated with antibiotics.”

A similar strain of listeria that hospitalised six people was identified using genetic fingerprinting of the germs in the shakes. All six had illnesses that rendered their immune systems “less able to fight the disease.” 

The DOH noted that three of the six died, while two of the hospitalised individuals claimed they had consumed the milkshakes prior to becoming ill.

Symptoms of listeria

Fever, aches in the muscles, and fatigue are common listeria symptoms in women who are not pregnant. Additionally, they might experience seizures, a stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or headaches.

On the other hand; pregnant women frequently experience fatigue, muscle aches, and fever. Listeria can also result in miscarriage or early birth as well as acute illness or infant mortality.

“Today, we were deeply saddened to learn the Washington State Department of Health is reporting six people were hospitalized with foodborne listeriosis and three people later died. We are heartbroken and deeply regret any harm our actions could have caused”, Frugals said in a statement.

“Frugals has and will continue to fully cooperate with and support this ongoing investigation. We have followed all PCHD’s recommendations, including immediately halting all milkshake sales at our Tacoma location and sending the milkshake equipment to an independent facility for thorough cleaning, sanitization, and re-testing”, the restaurant added.

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