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By Rampart Stonebridge, updated on August 21, 2023

Ice cream machine responsible for multiple deaths

A recent listeria outbreak stemming from ice cream machines in a Tacoma-based restaurant has left three people dead and several others severely ill.

The tragic incident has shocked the community, raising questions about food safety and the potential risks we may unknowingly expose ourselves to, MSN reported.

What happened at the Frugals restaurant?

Frugals, a well-known burger joint in Tacoma, Washington, is under scrutiny after their improperly cleaned ice cream machines became a source of listeria contamination.

As a result, patrons who consumed milkshakes made from these machines between May 29 and August 7, 2023, faced a potential health risk.

This careless oversight culminated in the death of three individuals, with an additional three hospitalized due to the contaminated machine. In a heart-wrenching response, Frugals admitted their role in this tragedy. A representative from the company stated on Facebook that they were heartbroken and regret any harm that their actions have caused.

Understanding Listeria and its risks

Listeria is an infection usually caused by consuming food tainted with the bacterium listeria monocytogenes. Often found in raw foods, soil, and even the droppings of many mammals, birds, and fish, the bacteria can have devastating effects when it enters the human body.

Most of the time, people who consume contaminated food do not become seriously ill. However, some might experience mild symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, starting within a day of consumption. If the infection escalates and spreads beyond the gut, it evolves into an invasive illness with potential symptoms emerging within two weeks.

Among the symptoms are fatigue, dizziness, muscle aches, seizures, and even loss of fat. For the vulnerable, such as the elderly, pregnant individuals, or those with weakened immune systems, the consequences can be dire. The CDC reports that annually, about 1,600 Americans are afflicted with listeria, resulting in approximately 260 fatalities.

Response and measures taken by Frugals

In light of these events, Frugals swiftly ceased operations of its ice cream machines on August 8. Moreover, all milkshake sales were suspended, and the contaminated machinery was sent for thorough sanitation and inspection.

The company further asserted their commitment to consumer trust, citing their four-decade-long history as a family-owned enterprise, Daily Mail reported.

Officials have since warned those vulnerable to listeria to seek medical attention if they've consumed Frugals’ Tacoma milkshakes within the specified period and exhibit any symptoms. The health department was clear in their declaration that the machine was not adequately cleaned.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

  • Regular Sanitation: Establishments must ensure machinery and equipment undergo regular and thorough cleaning. This not only prevents potential contamination but safeguards the health of patrons.
  • Immediate Action: If any signs of contamination are identified, businesses should act immediately, ceasing operations and notifying patrons if necessary.
  • Public Awareness: Consumers should remain informed about food safety and the potential risks associated with foodborne illnesses. Basic precautions, such as washing hands and fruits before consumption, can significantly reduce risks.

Why is this story resonating with so many?

The incident at Frugals has gripped the community and wider public for several reasons. Firstly, the sheer gravity of the situation — the loss of three innocent lives due to a seemingly harmless act of enjoying a milkshake, is deeply unsettling. Secondly, it underscores the trust we place in eateries and food establishments. When that trust is broken, it shakes the foundation of our daily routines and choices.

Furthermore, the incident serves as a reminder of the ever-present risks in our environment. Even the most unsuspecting sources can become carriers of deadly pathogens. Lastly, the emotional response from Frugals, a well-established brand, highlights the profound impact such incidents have on businesses, both from a reputation and moral standpoint.

As we reflect on this tragedy, it's essential to stay vigilant, informed, and empathetic, both as consumers and as members of the wider community.

Please share this article on Twitter and Facebook.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.

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