A family-owned burger restaurant in Tacoma, Washington, has found itself at the center of tragedy following a deadly listeria outbreak. Listeria was linked to the milkshakes at Frugals due to the ice cream machine being improperly cleaned. Three people have died and several others have been hospitalized.
Details surrounding the outbreak were made public last week following the release of a report from the Washington State Department of Health. According to the department's findings, listeria bacteria was shockingly discovered in all of the milkshake flavors at the Tacoma restaurant.
"Investigators found Listeria in the ice cream machines, which were not cleaned correctly. No other Frugals restaurants are believed to be affected. The restaurant stopped using its ice cream machines Aug. 8, but Listeria can sicken people up to 70 days later," read the report.
The department is asking that those who are pregnant, 65 or older, or have weakened immune systems call their health care provider if they drank a Frugals milkshake between May 29 and August 7, 2023, and have Listeria symptoms. Among the most common Listeria symptoms are fever, muscle aches, tiredness, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and seizures.
Frugals has since issued a statement on social media expressing their regret and also letting it be known that they have been cooperative in the ongoing investigation.
"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," read a portion of the statement.
Despite the Pierce County Health Department informing Frugals that the outbreak was isolated to the Tacoma location, the restaurant did share that milkshake machines in all of their other locations have been shut down to be sampled.
Earlier this year, Delish published a story detailing how dangerous soft serve machines can be if they're not properly cleaned. In 2005, over 120 people in Ohio got sick when a soft serve ice cream machine became contaminated with staphylococcus. And in 2016, two hospital patients in Seattle became ill after drinking milkshakes contaminated with listeria.
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