The 2023 Frugals Listeria Outbreak:

            2.1       According to the Washington State Department of Health, six Washington residents (five from Pierce County and one from Thurston County) developed severe illness due to infection with Listeria bacteria (listeriosis). Three of the individuals died. Genetic fingerprinting (whole genome sequencing) of the bacteria indicated that the same food was likely responsible for making all six people sick.

2.2       Two of the people infected with listeriosis reported consuming milkshakes from Frugals restaurant located at 10727 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma, WA, 98444 prior to becoming sick. Because milkshakes and ice cream have caused Listeria outbreaks in the past, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department collected milkshake samples from the restaurant on August 8, 2023. On August 18, 2023, all flavors of the milkshakes were found to be contaminated with the same strain of Listeria that caused the outbreak.

2.3       The restaurant discontinued use of its two milkshake machines on August 8. The milkshake machines will be kept out of service until the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department determines they are free of Listeriacontamination and no longer pose a danger to the public.

2.4       Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. People usually become ill with listeriosis after eating contaminated food. The disease primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. It is rare for people in other groups to get sick with Listeria monocytogenes infection.

2.5       Listeriosis is usually a mild illness for pregnant women, but it causes severe disease in the fetus or newborn baby. Some people with Listeria monocytogenes infections, most commonly adults 65 years and older and people with weakened immune systems, develop severe infections of the bloodstream (causing sepsis) or brain (causing meningitis or encephalitis). Listeria monocytogenes infections can sometimes affect other parts of the body, including bones, joints, and sites in the chest and abdomen.

Historical outbreaks linked to ice cream products:

2.6       Outbreaks of foodborne disease linked to contaminated ice cream products are by no means a new phenomenon. The following chart provides representative examples:

2021-2022MultistateListeria monocytogenes23221Big Olaf Creamery
2014WashingtonListeria monocytogenes220Snoqualmie Ice Cream
2010-2015MultistateListeria monocytogenes10103Blue Bell
2008VermontE. coli O157:H7630Homemade Ice Cream, unpasteurized milk
2008MinnesotaSalmonellaHeidelberg200Homemade ice cream
2008CaliforniaE. coli O157:H7200Consumed at a restaurant; brand or pasteurization unknown
2007CaliforniaNorovirus1700Ice cream with berries, berries were likely the contaminated ingredient
2007PennsylvaniaCampylobacter300Homemade ice cream
2007MinnesotaHepatitis A1560Ice cream or yogurt at a restaurant
2007West VirginiaSalmonella Enteritidis820Homemade ice cream
2006BelgiumE. coli O145 and E. coli 0261250Ice cream at a farm
2006CaliforniaSalmonella600Homemade Ice Cream
2005MultistateSalmonella Typhimurium26110Cold Stone Creamery (cake batter was the contaminated ingredient)
1994MultistateSalmonella Enteritidis1200Schwan’s Ice Cream – the estimated # of ill cases is 224,000!
1993FloridaSalmonella Enteritidis593Homemade Ice Cream