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Flour is the latest coconut product in Salmonella’s sights, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced over the weekend.
The King Arthur Flour Company has announced a voluntary recall of 6,300 cases of 16-ounce Organic Coconut Flour. Testing revealed the presence of Salmonella in one package of the coconut product.
The recalled packages were distributed through retailers and distributors across the United States. The 16-ounce packages have “Best If Used By” dates of 10/25/2018 (LOT: CF22017E) and 12/04/2018 (LOT: CF22017E). The dates are on the back of the packages, near the bottom of the panel. They have a UPC code of 0 71012 10702 5.
Coconut product recalls:
Salmonella in the news
The year is not even through its first quarter, but it already has been a busy period for Salmonella bacteria, which have been responsible for numerous outbreaks and product recalls.
Last week, potentially contaminated dried coconut was linked to an outbreak in which 13 people took ill across eight states. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the outbreak began last Sept. 22; the most recent illness was reported Feb. 26.
The outbreak has been linked to two coconut products:
- Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic
- International Harvest Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw.
The FDA announced that the Natural Grocers grocery chain recalled 10-ounce Coconut Smiles Organic after six illnesses were reported. Only two days before that recall was revealed, International Harvest announced a recall of its Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw.
Officials from numerous health agencies collected leftover dried coconut from various locations (homes of people who became ill, retail stores, distribution centers). Testing discovered the outbreak strain of Salmonella typhimurium in unopened samples of Coconut Smiles Organic, as well as in samples of Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw.
Consumers who purchased either coconut product are urged to throw it out or return it to where it was purchased.
In January, contaminated coconut was responsible for a Salmonella outbreak in which 27 people took ill across nine states. Six of those victims were hospitalized. That outbreak was attributed to Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut; the CDC declared the outbreak over in mid-February.
Coconut product recall:
Salmonella facts and figures
Salmonella produce salmonellosis, of which as many as 1 million cases are reported in the U.S. annually, according to the CDC. Salmonellosis can develop anywhere from 12 hours to three days after eating food contaminated with Salmonella.
Symptoms can last as long as a week, and can include:
- vomiting and abdominal pain
- fever and chills.
Most people recover without treatment. Diarrhea can become so severe, however, that hospitalization is necessary. The CDC estimates that of the 1 million annual cases, 19,000 victims will need to be hospitalized, and about 380 of them will pass away.
People most at risk for complications are children under 5, pregnant women, senior citizens, and those with suppressed immune systems.
Pregnant women have to be especially vigilant because they are at a higher risk for contracting salmonellosis. That is due to their immune systems becoming suppressed by hormonal changes. A pregnant woman who contracts salmonellosis can go into premature labor, or suffer a miscarriage or even stillbirth.
Complications can occur when Salmonella enter the bloodstream. If that happens, the following can result:
- meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.
- endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner lining, usually involving the valves.
- osteomyelitis, bone inflammation that usually affects the legs, arms, and/or spine.
- reactive arthritis – or Reiter’s syndrome – which is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops in response to a Salmonella infection in another part of the body.