Eatery’s Dirty Ice Cream Machines Lead To Three Deaths

( – Listeria is a deadly bacterial infection usually caused by contaminated food. Roughly 1,600 people in the US contract the infection annually, and 260 die. An outbreak in Washington recently killed multiple people.

On August 18, the Washington Department of Health announced a listeria outbreak originating in Tacoma. The bacteria were found in all of the milkshake flavors at Frugals restaurant. Investigators discovered the machines were not being cleaned correctly, leading to the deadly outbreak.

Six people were hospitalized with the infections between February 27 and July 22. Three of those people later died. Two of the patients who survived said they’d had milkshakes at Frugals before falling ill. All of the patients who were hospitalized had preexisting conditions that made it harder for their immune systems to fight off the infections.

State officials are asking anyone who had a milkshake at the burger joint between May 29 and August 7 to call their healthcare provider if they are experiencing symptoms of a listeria infection. Those symptoms include muscle aches, tiredness, fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizures, headaches, or loss of balance. It can take up to 70 days for infection to set in.

Pregnant women are at an increased risk of adverse effects from the bacteria and could deliver their baby prematurely. They may also feel tiredness, a fever, and muscle aches. Listeria can lead to death in newborns.

Frugals released a statement expressing deep remorse that its actions may have caused harm.

This isn’t the first time a listeria outbreak has occurred at an establishment that serves ice cream. An outbreak at Big Olaf Creamery in Sarasota, Florida, led to 28 illnesses, one miscarriage, and one death in 2022. The family of 79-year-old Mary Billman was awarded $4 million in a lawsuit against the creamery. Unlike Frugals, which stopped selling the milkshakes immediately, Big Olaf refused to stop selling their ice cream for eight days after the CDC alerted owners to an outbreak.

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