Bozeman, Montana – The Gallatin City-County Health Department, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), and federal agencies are continuing their investigation into the foodborne illness outbreak at Dave’s Sushi, which has been linked to two recent deaths in the area. The outbreak appears to be isolated to customers who dined at Dave’s Sushi between March 31 and April 17, 2023. The restaurant remains closed, with no further risk to the public.
According to the DPHHS, at least 30 individuals have been identified as being associated with the outbreak, having eaten at the restaurant within the specified time frame. Of these, three individuals experienced severe outcomes, including hospitalizations, and two deaths are being investigated. Autopsy and toxicology results for the deceased individuals are still pending.
Preliminary investigative findings suggest that food containing morel mushrooms may be the source of concern. However, no specific pathogen or toxin has been identified as of yet. Both state and federal partners are continuing to test clinical and food samples.
The DPHHS has determined that the morel mushrooms served at Dave’s Sushi 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. At this time, no known associated illnesses in other states have been identified.
Food poisoning attorneys, such as Ron Simon & Associates, are also investigating the outbreak, seeking to provide support and representation for affected individuals and families.
Lori Christenson, Health Officer for the Gallatin City-County Health Department, expressed her sympathies for those affected by the outbreak: “We are deeply saddened and extend our sincerest condolences to all the families and friends of the two deceased, as well as all those affected by this outbreak.”
Health departments across Montana, including the Gallatin City-County Health Department, regularly investigate foodborne illness reports to protect public health. These investigations involve collecting and analyzing data from various sources, such as clinical and food samples. Licensed establishments, like restaurants, are subject to regular inspections to evaluate compliance with food safety standards and the effectiveness of their food safety management systems.
Public health officials advise that anyone can get sick from eating contaminated food. The CDC estimates that each year in the United States, 48 million people fall ill from foodborne illnesses, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Certain groups, including adults over 65, children under five, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant individuals, are more likely to get sick and experience more severe illness.