February 27, 2024

Deadly Listeria Outbreak Associated With Tacoma Frugals Milkshakes

A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that is associated with milkshakes served at the Tacoma Frugals restaurant has hospitalized six people, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Three patients have sadly died. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was found in all milkshake flavors sold at that restaurant, which is located at 10727 Pacific Avenue South in Tacoma, Washington.

Deadly Listeria Outbreak Associated With Tacoma Frugals

All six patients in this outbreak had health issues that made them more vulnerable to infections. Two people who were hospitalized and survived said they ate the Tacoma Frugals’ milkshakes before they got sick.

Because ice cream has been linked to listeriosis outbreaks in the past, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department collected samples from the restaurant on August 8, 2023, and today the pathogen was found in those samples. Investigators also found the pathogen in the ice cream machines, which were allegedly not cleaned correctly. No other Frugals restaurants are believe to be affected by this issue.

Frugals stopped using its ice cream machines on August 8, 2023, but the incubation period for Listeria bacteria can be up to 70 days, so patients may still be identified during the next two months. The milkshake machines will be kept out of service until the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department determines that they are free of contamination and no longer pose a danger to the public.

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Food Safety Attorney and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher Eric Hageman

Noted food safety lawyer Eric Hageman, who has successfully represented many patients in Listeria monocytogenes lawsuits, said, “There is a reason why there is zero tolerance for Listeria contamination in ready to eat foods such as ice cream. There is no kill step to destroy the pathogen. No one should order ice cream or eat a milkshake and get sick.”

Whole genome sequencing of the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria found in the milkshakes today shows that it is the outbreak strain that hospitalized those six people between February 27 and July 22, 2023. Those patients live in Pierce and Thurston counties. The patients are between the ages of 40 and in their 70s.

While most people who contract this infection will not become seriously ill, there are certain populations for which this infection is deadly. Those people include the elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, and people with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients. This infection can also cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and infection in the newborn.

The first symptoms of listeriosis are fever, muscle aches, tiredness, and diarrhea. If it progresses to a serious version, people will suffer from a severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, seizures, and loss of balance.

If you ate ice cream or a milkshake at that Frugals restaurant in Tacoma between May 29 and August 7, 2023, monitor yourself for these symptoms for the next 70 days. If you do get sick, see your doctor. You may be part of this outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors, and families in wrongful death cases.

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