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Bozeman sushi restaurant plans reopening as health officials investigate deaths, illness

Posted at 7:54 AM, May 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-04 15:08:56-04

BOZEMAN — Dave's Sushi announced Wednesday the restaurant plans to reopen after the Gallatin City-County Health Department completes its investigation on May 15.

Aaron Parker, owner of Dave’s Sushi, told MTN News the restaurant will “follow and exceed health safety standards” upon reopening.

When asked about his personal feelings regarding the situation, Parker said: “It’s not about me, it’s about the community and our employees and keeping our community safe.”

RELATED: Health officials: Investigation ongoing into deaths, illnesses linked to Bozeman sushi restaurant

Following is the full statement from Dave's Sushi in response to the update from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services on its investigation into possible foodborne illness linked to the restaurant:

The Gallatin City-County Health Department released a statement dated May 3, 2023, noting that they and other local, state, and federal agencies are continuing to investigate the foodborne illness outbreak and acknowledging that the investigation may be unable to identify a specific pathogen. However, as noted in the release, “Preliminary investigative findings indicate that food containing morel mushrooms may be the exposure of concern.” No matter the circumstances or the findings, our hearts go out to the loved ones of the two people who passed away and to all who have been impacted.

Upon being contacted by guests on Mon, April 17 about a potential issue, we stopped serving the morel mushrooms which were a specialty food item not on our regular menu and contacted the Gallatin City-County Health Department. After we reported to the health department that several of our guests had contacted us on Mon, April 17, we were inspected by the health department on Tues, April 18. We immediately addressed the findings in their health inspection report, none of which are believed to be related to the Gallatin City-County Health Department’s current investigation.

The FDA-inspected morel mushrooms were purchased in two separate batches from a California distributor, as described by the Gallatin City-County Health Department in their May 3rd release: “The DPHHS investigation has determined that the morel mushrooms served at the restaurant 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. There are no known associated illnesses in other states identified at this time.”

We have been fully cooperating with the Gallatin City-County Health Department. Health and safety has always been a top priority for us. To continue that commitment, we’ve hired a sanitarian consultant, formerly with the Gallatin City-County Health Department, to fully and thoroughly inspect our restaurant and conduct extensive food safety updates for our staff.

We’re also ensuring that our staff are fully compensated until we reopen, including wages and estimated gratuities. We expect to reopen after Mon, May 15, once the health department has completed their study.

Moving forward, we want to bring attention to the potential risks of incorporating morel mushrooms in recipes. Our goal is to help prevent a situation like this from happening again to anyone.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns at Thank you, Dave’s Sushi