Category Archives: Foodborne Illness Death

Research “Forbidden Fish”: Did King Henry I Die of Lamprey Poisoning or Listeria monocytogenes?



For centuries, the sudden and mysterious death of King Henry I has been attributed to a large meal of lampreys that accidentally poisoned the unfortunate monarch. In this article, we conclude that lampreys were likely not the cause of the king’s illness, nor is it likely that he was deliberately poisoned. Although a wide variety of abdominal pathologies could have been responsible, we suggest that a sporadic central nervous system (CNS) infection of Listeria monocytogenes appears to be the most likely cause of Henry’s death, correlating with both his symptoms and rapid decline.

FDA – Investigation of Illnesses: Morel Mushrooms (May 2023)



Morel mushrooms are a type of edible mushroom that are commonly foraged from the wild and are sometimes cultivated for commercial sale. Morel mushrooms are generally considered safe to eat, but they may contain some toxins that can cause health problems. The toxins in morel mushrooms that may cause illness are not fully understood; however, using proper preparation procedures, such as cooking can help to reduce toxin levels.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are assisting Gallatin City-County Health DepartmentExternal Link Disclaimer and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) with an investigation of illnesses at a single restaurant in Montana. The restaurant temporarily closed following the illnesses and at this time, there does not appear to be any further risk to the public. Available epidemiological evidence indicates that imported cultivated morel mushrooms, consumed at a single Montana restaurant, were the likely source of illnesses.

Stores Affected

The morel mushrooms served at the restaurant in Montana were distributed to multiple states; however, at this time, this appears to be a localized issue and no illnesses have been identified outside of the single restaurant in Montana.

Symptoms of morel and other mushroom poisonings:

Symptoms depend on the type of mushroom consumed, the specific toxin and amount ingested. Symptoms can also vary depending on the individual who ate them.  

Investigation Status



While there appears to be no ongoing risk related to this investigation, the following are general safety tips related to morel and other wild-type mushrooms (this includes mushrooms that are traditionally wild and foraged but can also be cultivated). If you become ill after consuming any mushroom, please contact your healthcare provider and/or call the poison control help lineExternal Link Disclaimer at 1-800-222-1222.

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers:

Consumers should eat morel and other wild-type mushrooms at their own risk. Properly cooking morel mushrooms can reduce risk of illness, however there is no guarantee of safety even if cooking steps are taken prior to consumption. Anyone eating, selling, or serving morel mushrooms, or other wild-type of mushrooms, should exercise caution. There are varieties of poisonous wild mushrooms that look very similar to morel mushrooms. If you are preparing morels, you should confirm the identity of each mushroom, and consult with a knowledgeable expert as the poisonous species have been known to grow near edible species in the wild.  

If you are preparing morel or other wild-type mushrooms, you should inspect for any signs of spoilage as toxin presence and levels may be affected by freshness or lack thereof. Choose mushrooms that are dry and firm and avoid those that are bruised, discolored, or slimy. 

Mushrooms should be refrigerated at a temperature of 40° F or below, either in their original packaging or in breathable type packaging, such as a paper bag.

Harvesters and manufacturers:

Conditions in which wild-type mushrooms are packaged and stored can contribute to growth of harmful bacteria and toxins. Harvesters and manufacturers should pack mushrooms in breathable packaging to allow air flow through the container which will prevent growth of these pathogens.

Additional information on selecting, storing, and serving fresh produce, such as mushrooms, can be found on the FDA website.

Current Update

May 19, 2023

Per request from Gallatin City-County Health Department and the Montana (DPHHS), the FDA and CDC are assisting with an investigation of illnesses at a single restaurant in Montana. The restaurant temporarily closed following the illnesses and there does not appear to be any further risk to the public. Preparation and storage methods at the restaurant continue to be examined as part of the investigation into the cause of illnesses and this advisory will be updated as information becomes available.

As of May 15, 2023, the investigation has identified 50 ill people who ate at the restaurant between March 28 and April 17, 2023, of whom 44 people reported eating morel mushrooms. There have been three hospitalizations and two deaths associated with this incident. A sample of leftover mushrooms were collected from the restaurant and laboratory analysis determined that the sampled mushrooms were true morels.

Currently, no pathogen, toxin, pesticide, or heavy metal has been identified; however, state and local partners have collected consumer samples from the restaurant and testing and analysis are ongoing. Although epidemiological evidence indicates that morel mushrooms consumed at the restaurant are likely the cause of illnesses, mushroom poisonings can be difficult to diagnose as the exact chemical nature of some toxins found in wild-type mushrooms are currently unknown. 

USA – Dave’s Sushi to reopen after sickening 50 with 2 dead – Morel Mushrooms suspect

Food Poison Journal

Gallatin City-County Health Department Rescinds Closure Order and Institutes New Health Officer Order with Corrective Actions Required Prior to Dave’s Sushi Reopening

Since being ordered to close on April 20, 2023, food samples – including salmon and morel mushrooms – from Dave’s Sushi have been collected and analyzed. To date, all samples have come back negative for a series of pathogens and toxins. A thorough investigation led by the Gallatin City-County Health Department, with support from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is still ongoing and it is known that this investigation may not be able to identify a specific pathogen/toxin as a source of the outbreak that impacted 50 people. Three individuals had severe outcomes, including hospitalizations, and the deaths of two individuals are being investigated after eating at the restaurant. The manner and cause of death for these two individuals will remain pending until autopsy and toxicology results are available.

USA – Possible Foodborne Illness Kills Two People in Montana – Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Donna Ventura

Food Poisoning News

On April 30th, a 64 year old woman, Donna Ventura, died of a suspected foodborne illness. The county police officer reports that she was a regular at Dave’s Sushi restaurant. One week before, a 74 year old man named William Lewis also died of a foodborne illness. He was also a patron of Dave’s Sushi. The cause of death is currently under investigation, though morel mushrooms are suspected. While the two deaths have not been “directly” linked to the sushi restaurant, yet, at least three dozen other patrons of Dave’s Sushi have reported illnesses. The autopsy results will be available in 4-6 weeks, and toxicology results will be available in 2-6 months.

The restaurant has been closed for more than 2 weeks after receiving multiple complaints from more than 30 consumers falling ill after eating Dave’s Sushi. The FDA has focused its attention on morel mushrooms, sourced from China, as the source of the illnesses. Although it is not yet confirmed that these mushrooms were what caused the outbreak, this was an off-menu addition and only those who consumed the tainted product became ill – usually within 30 to 270 minutes post-consumption.

USA – Foodborne Illness Outbreak at Dave’s Sushi Under Investigation; now up to 30 cases.

Food Poisoning News

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.

USA – Two possibly dead linked to Dave’s Sushi in Bozeman

Food Poison Journal

According to press reports, Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer tells MTN News that Donna Ventura, age 64, died of a possible foodborne illness, after eating at Dave’s Sushi. The cause of Ventura’s death has not been confirmed as officials are waiting on autopsy and toxicology results.

According to earlier press reports, William “Bill” Lewis 74, of Townsend, died after eating at Dave’s Sushi, according to Broadwater County Sheriff Nick Rauser, who is also the county coroner. Sheriff Rauser says the 74-year-old man died at his home in Broadwater County. Sheriff Rauser says the call came in at 6:34 AM on the morning of April 18 and a relative told the responding officer that the man had eaten at Dave’s Sushi the night before, the same night the Gallatin County Health Department reported they received complaints of people becoming ill which led to the investigation and closure of the restaurant.

Denmark – Salmonella outbreak sickens 16 and kills one in Denmark

Food Safety News

Danish officials are searching for the source of a Salmonella outbreak that has affected 16 people with one recorded death.

During March and April 2023, 16 cases of Salmonella Muenchen have been recorded.

Eight men and eight women are sick. Patients are aged between 10 and 95 with a median of 73 years old. One person has died and seven have been hospitalized.

Ill people live all over the country with eight cases in Hovedstaden, four in Sjælland, three in Midtjylland, and one in Syddanmark.

The Statens Serum Institut (SSI), Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen), and DTU Food Institute are investigating the outbreak.

SSI is continuing to whole genome sequence isolates from patients and interview them or their relatives to try and identify a possible source of infection.

Whole genome sequencing of bacteria isolated from patients has found they were very closely related which suggests that there is a common source of infection.

Salmonella Muenchen is a rare type in Denmark with usually only around two to eight cases per year.

Research – Nestlé strikes settlement deal over France E. coli scandal

Just Food

Nestlé has agreed to a settlement with victims of a fatal E. coli outbreak last year.

Dozens of children fell sick after eating contaminated food – and two died. In April last year, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into alleged involuntary manslaughter. Health officials ordered production at the Caudry factory to cease five days later.

The company told Just Food today (18 April) it had settled with “the vast majority of claimants”, who are represented by lawyer Pierre Debuisson

Kenya – Mukumu girls deaths linked to E.coli, Salmonella from contaminated water


Three students and a teacher at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls in Kakamega died as a result of contaminated water.

The Ministry of Health Friday said preliminary findings had revealed E. coli and Salmonella typhi, a bacterium that is responsible for typhoid fever as the causes of the illness initially suspected to be cholera.

“The Ministry wishes to inform the general public that this disease is likely to be a mixture of E. coli and Salmonella typhi which usually occurs if water sources are contaminated with these micro-organisms” Ag. Director General for Health Dr. Patrick Amoth said.

A comprehensive investigation is however underway even as the top health official ruled out aflatoxin.

Several learning institutions including, Mukumu Girls and Butere Boys in Kamamega and the latest being Mukuuni Boys High School in Chuka, Tharaka Nithi County have been closed after students were taken ill.

“The Ministry of Health has taken several water, food, and human tissue samples, from which preliminary laboratory investigations undertaken have revealed Enterotoxigenic E. coli and Salmonella typhi as the causes of the illness,” he said

“Further laboratory investigations carried out on the grains and pulses for aflatoxin have turned negative for aflatoxicosis- a dangerous fungal infection from poorly stored cereal grains” he added.

USA – Listeria Outbreak Linked to Deli Meat and Cheese


This outbreak is over. Even when there are no ongoing Listeria outbreaks, people who are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system should reheat deli meat and deli-sliced cheese to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot to kill any germs.

Fast Facts
  • Illnesses: 16
  • Hospitalizations: 13
  • Deaths: 1
  • States: 6
  • Recall: No
  • Investigation status: Closed
Store with deli meat and cheese on shelves
Listeria in Deli Meat and Deli-Sliced Cheese

Deli meats (cold cuts, lunch meats, hot dogs, and pâtés) and deli-sliced cheeses are known sources of Listeria illnesses. This is because Listeria can easily spread among food, food preparation surfaces like deli slicers, and hands. Listeria is a hardy germ that can be difficult to fully remove once it is present in a deli or a food processing facility. It can survive and grow at cold temperatures in a refrigerator.

Outbreak Investigation Summary

Data showed that deli meat and cheese bought at deli counters in multiple states were the likely sources of this outbreak.

  • Of 12 people interviewed, 11 reported eating meat or cheese from deli counters.
  • The outbreak strain of Listeria was found in open packages of mortadella, ham, and salami sliced at the deli, as well as a deli in Brooklyn, New York.

A single deli or food source was not identified. It is difficult for investigators to identify the specific source of outbreaks linked to deli meats and cheeses. This is because Listeria spreads easily between food and the deli environment, and it can live for a long time in deli display cases and on equipment. A contaminated food likely introduced the outbreak strain of Listeria into delis in multiple states.