Restaurant’s sushi roll blamed for poisoning 41 and killing 2 in Montana
Two people died and more than 40 others contracted a possible foodborne illness after eating at a sushi restaurant in Montana.
Sixty-four-year-old Donna Ventura and 74-year-old William Lewis died after dining on 17 April at the now-closed Dave’s Sushi restaurant in Bozeman. The victims ordered the “special roll,” which contained salmon and morel mushrooms, local news station KBZK reported.
Following an investigation by the FDA and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, it was determined that the morel mushrooms served at the restaurant were cultivated in China, shipped to a distributor in California, and then sent to multiple states. At this time, no other states have reported outbreaks.
Ventura was taken to the Bozeman Health Deaconess Regional Medical Center on the day she ate at the restaurant after collapsing at her home. She went into cardiac arrest and experienced organ failure, ultimately dying 13 days after dining at Dave’s Sushi.
Ventura’s husband has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the restaurant, which plans to reopen later in May.
Meanwhile, Lewis died the morning after his visit to the establishment.
The restaurant was closed on 21 April after receiving several complaints that customers had experienced food poisoning.
“We understand that several of our customers who dined with us on Monday, April 17, 2023 became ill,” the restaurant said in a statement at the time. “We believe that the common ingredient that may have been consumed was FDA-approved, cultured, morel mushrooms used in Monday’s special roll.”
Earlier this month, the Gallatin City-County Health Department said that three other individuals had experienced severe symptoms and had to be treated at the hospital. An 18 April inspection found the restaurant had four violations.
An investigation is underway to officially determine what caused the deaths, although health officials have noted that it may be impossible to do so with certainty.
Authorities have said the restaurant has cooperated with the investigation. The establishment also said it hired a sanitarian consultant to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the outbreak.
The Independent has reached out to Dave’s Sushi and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.