Why were the mushrooms not cooked? This question will be central in the Dave’s Sushi Lawsuits.
Final Report Points to Morel Mushrooms, but Raises as many Questions as it Answers
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (MDPHHS) has now released its final report, entitled: Final Summary of the Foodborne Outbreak Linked to Morel Mushrooms, published July 19, 2023, click here.
The restaurant, Dave’s Sushi, was temporarily closed in the aftermath of this outbreak, and for good reason. Health department investigators from the Gallatin City-County Health Department (GCCHD) and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (MT DPHHS), along with U.S> Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials, were scrambling to find what caused these illnesses and deaths. And now, on July 19th, they have released the results – and they raise as many questions as they answer.
Apparently the pathogen does not survive high heat, like most bacterial pathogens, sufficient heat kills them and prevents illness in humans post-consumption. Dairy is routinely pasteurized for that reason and cooks carefully monitor internal temperatures of raw meats for the same reason. In this situation, while heavy metals, pesticides, and known pathogens were absent in clinical analysis, whatever was making people sick did not do so in the numerous other restaurants that thoroughly cooked the mushrooms.
Dave’s Sushi, which has reopened, now needs to answer some important questions, says Ron Simon, the national food poisoning lawyer who represents many of the victims, including family of William Lewis who died. “This case is reminiscent of the sushi litigation we had a number of years back” says Simon, referring to when ‘sashimi grade’ tuna was imported and served to patrons who then developed salmonellosis. “We know that salmonella is killed when food is properly cooked, but in sushi, things are often served raw.”
What may be a central question in the Dave’s Sushi lawsuit is whether the morel mushrooms were purchased as a ready -to-eat product.