For the investigation with the not yet identified cause of illness (ref # 1152), preliminary information reported by Gallatin City- County Health Department and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services indicates that a food containing imported morel mushrooms consumed at a single restaurant in Montana may be the exposure of concern. This restaurant is temporarily closed. The product linked to illnesses has been updated to morel mushrooms (suspect), the case count has increased from 13 cases to 30 cases, and sample collection and analysis have been initiated. FDA is assisting in this investigation, but at this time it appears to be a localized issue and no illnesses have been identified outside of this restaurant cluster. This is an ongoing investigation and more information will be provided as it becomes available.

Dave’s Sushi in response to the update from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services on its investigation into possible foodborne illness linked to the restaurant:

The Gallatin City-County Health Department released a statement dated May 3, 2023, noting that they and other local, state, and federal agencies are continuing to investigate the foodborne illness outbreak and acknowledging that the investigation may be unable to identify a specific pathogen. However, as noted in the release, “Preliminary investigative findings indicate that food containing morel mushrooms may be the exposure of concern.”

No matter the circumstances or the findings, our hearts go out to the loved ones of the two people who passed away and to all who have been impacted.

Upon being contacted by guests on Mon, April 17 about a potential issue, we stopped serving the morel mushrooms which were a specialty food item not on our regular menu and contacted the Gallatin City-County Health Department.

After we reported to the health department that several of our guests had contacted us on Mon, April 17, we were inspected by the health department on Tues, April 18. We immediately addressed the findings in their health inspection report, none of which are believed to be related to the Gallatin City-County Health Department’s current investigation.

The FDA-inspected morel mushrooms were purchased in two separate batches from a California distributor, as described by the Gallatin City-County Health Department in their May 3rd release: “The DPHHS investigation has determined that the morel mushrooms served at the restaurant were not distributed to any other restaurants or businesses in Montana. The mushrooms were cultivated in China, shipped to a distributor in California, and subsequently sent to multiple states. There are no known associated illnesses in other states identified at this time.”

We have been fully cooperating with the Gallatin City-County Health Department. Health and safety has always been a top priority for us. To continue that commitment, we’ve hired a sanitarian consultant, formerly with the Gallatin City-County Health Department, to fully and thoroughly inspect our restaurant and conduct extensive food safety updates for our staff.

We’re also ensuring that our staff are fully compensated until we reopen, including wages and estimated gratuities. We expect to reopen after Mon, May 15, once the health department has completed their study.

Moving forward, we want to bring attention to the potential risks of incorporating morel mushrooms in recipes. Our goal is to help prevent a situation like this from happening again to anyone.