Listeria bacteria found in all milkshake flavors sold at Frugals restaurant at 10727 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma, WA are associated with a foodborne listeriosis outbreak linked to six hospitalizations and three deaths. 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. 

Most people who eat food contaminated with Listeria will not get seriously sick, but people who are pregnant, aged 65 or older, and those with weakened immune systems should call their health care provider if they ate a Frugals’ Tacoma milkshake between May 29 and Aug. 7, 2023 and have Listeria symptoms (listed below). Listeria can be treated with antibiotics.

Genetic fingerprinting of bacteria in the milkshakes shows it’s the same strain of Listeria that hospitalized six people between Feb. 27 and July 22 (five people in Pierce County and one person in Thurston County). All six people had conditions that made their immune systems less able to fight disease. Three of the six people hospitalized died. Two people who were hospitalized, but did not die, said they ate Frugals’ Tacoma milkshakes before getting sick.

Listeria symptoms:

  • People who are not pregnant usually have a fever, muscle aches, and tiredness. They may also get a headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or seizures.
  • Those who are pregnant usually have a fever, muscle aches, and tiredness. However, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth. It can also cause serious illness or death in newborns.