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Potentially tainted dried coconut has prompted the national recall of two products linked to a Salmonella outbreak in which 13 people have become ill across eight states.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the outbreak includes illnesses that began last Sept. 22. The most recent illness was reported on Feb. 26.

People who became sick range in age from 1 to 73, with a median age of 40. Sixty-seven percent of those who became sick are female. Three victims have been hospitalized; no deaths have been reported.

The most recent CDC case count map shows that the outbreak has sickened people in California (5), Oregon (2), Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Texas, and Utah.

Potentially contaminated
dried coconut recalls

The recalls involve the following products:

dried coconut

Potentially tainted dried coconut has prompted the national recall of two products linked to a Salmonella outbreak in which 13 people have become ill across eight states. (Pictured: Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw)

International Harvest Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw
International Harvest Inc. of Mount Vernon, NY, recalled 14,620 pounds of bulk and 24,270 bags of its Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw.

The retail version of the Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw is packaged in a 9-ounce poly/plastic bag, UPC: 7 39446 40220 7, with the following “Sell by Dates” on the back of the bag: 010118, 020118, 030118, 040118, 050118,060118, 070118, 080118, 090118, 100118, 110118, 120118, 010119, 020119, 030119.

The bulk version was sold in a 25-bulk case labeled with the following batch/lot numbers: OCSM-0010, OCSM-0011, OCSM-0014.

The products were distributed to customers via online retailers, retail stores, and distributors. They were shipped to California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

Consumers are urged to return the product to its place of purchase. In addition, anyone with questions can call International Harvest at 914-699-5600, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern).

dried coconut

Potentially tainted dried coconut has prompted the national recall of two products linked to a Salmonella outbreak in which 13 people have become ill across eight states. (Pictured: Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic)

Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic
Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets Inc. of Lakewood, CO, recalled Natural Grocers brand 10-ounce Coconut Smiles Organic.

The snacks are packaged in clear plastic bags weighing 10 ounces and bearing a “Natural Grocers” label. All packages with packed-on dates prior to 18-075 (March 16, 2018) are subject to recall. The packed-on date can be found in the bottom left-hand corner of the label.

A Natural Grocers spokesperson told the Miami Herald in an email that Coconut Smiles Organic is manufactured by International Harvest.

Consumers who have questions are urged to call Natural Grocers at 303-986-4600, ext. 80531, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Eastern).

Collected dried coconut
shows Salmonella typhimurium

The CDC is not alone in investigating this Salmonella outbreak. It reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and public health and regulatory officials in several states also are investigating.

Officials from numerous agencies collected leftover dried coconut from the homes of people who became sick. Dried coconut also was collected from Natural Grocers store locations where ill people had shopped, and from the Natural Grocers’ Distribution Center.

FDA testing identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella typhimurium in an unopened sample of Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic collected from Natural Grocers. The outbreak strain also was identified in an opened, leftover sample of Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic collected from an ill person’s home.

The FDA also identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella typhimurium in samples of International Harvest Brand Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw.

Frozen shredded coconut
produced outbreak at start of year

Salmonella has been hard on coconut lovers this year. The CDC reported on a January Salmonella outbreak connected to Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut. In that outbreak,  27 people became ill in nine states, and six of them were hospitalized. The CDC declared that outbreak over in mid-February.

Salmonella:
Facts and figures

Salmonella bacteria produce salmonellosis, which the CDC says is responsible for up to 1 million illnesses in the U.S. annually. Salmonellosis can develop 12 hours to three days after eating food contaminated with Salmonella.

Symptoms generally include:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • chills.

Symptoms can last up to a week. Most people recover without treatment.

Diarrhea can become so severe, however, that hospitalization is required. The CDC estimates that of those 1 million annual cases of salmonellosis, 19,000 victims require hospitalization – and about 380 will die.

Complications from salmonellosis
People most at risk for complications are children younger than 5, pregnant women, senior citizens, and people with compromised immune systems.

Pregnant women are at a higher risk for contracting salmonellosis because their immune systems are weakened because of the hormonal changes they are undergoing. A pregnant woman who contracts salmonellosis can suffer a miscarriage, go into premature labor, or experience stillbirth.