Food

FDA Investigates Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak Linked to Dried Coconut

April 2, 2018

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses that are linked to dried coconut.


Update

On April 2, the FDA identified 16 retail locations that were supplied with potentially contaminated bulk dried coconut. This updated information is in addition to previous information identifying recalled packaged products.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA is investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to dried coconut.
  • CDC reports 13 cases in eight states with three hospitalizations and no deaths.
  • Testing by the FDA has confirmed that Salmonella found in two retail product samples of dried coconut collected from Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Market and International Harvest are a match to the outbreak strain.
  • As a result of this testing, Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets has recalled Natural Grocers Brand Coconut Smiles Organic and International Harvest has recalled Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw and International Harvest Brand Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw. If anyone has these coconut products in their home, they should not eat them.

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What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

The FDA, CDC, and several states and local officials are investigating Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses linked to dried coconut.

CDC reports a total of 13 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium, across eight states: California (5), Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon (2), Texas, and Utah. Three people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

Health officials conducted comprehensive interviews with ill people to ask them about foods they ate and other exposures they had before they became ill. Ill people reported multiple foods in common and the FDA worked with state officials to collect and test samples of those foods, including dried coconut.

Testing by the FDA of the dried coconut has confirmed that Salmonella found in two coconut products available at retail are a match to the outbreak strain.

As a result of this testing, Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets has recalled Natural Grocers brand Coconut Smiles Organic and International Harvest has recalled Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw and International Harvest Brand Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw.

Consumers who have any of these coconut products in their homes should not consume them and should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for credit or refund.

This investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates when more information is available.

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Timeline

On January 23, 2018, the CDC notified the FDA about a Salmonella Typhimurium cluster detected by PulseNet.

On March 16, 2018, International Harvest, Inc. recalled bags of Organic Go Smile! Raw Coconut and bulk packages of Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw. The recalled Organic Go Smile! Raw Coconut was sold online and in stores in 9-ounce bags with sell-by dates from January 1, 2018 through March 1, 2019. Recalled bulk Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw was sold in a 25-pound case labeled with batch/lot numbers OCSM-0010, OCSM-0011, and OCSM-0014. These products were sold in various grocery stores. Regulatory officials are working to determine where else Organic Go Smile! Raw Coconut and Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw were sold.

On March 19, 2018, Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets, Inc. recalled packages of Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic labeled with barcode 8034810 and packed-on numbers lower than 18-075. Recalled Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic were sold in 10-ounce clear plastic bags with the Natural Grocers label. The packed-on number can be found in the bottom left-hand corner of the label.

As of March 20, 2018, CDC reports 13 cases in eight states with three hospitalizations and no deaths.

On March 29, 2018, Healthy Nut Factory recalled 7-ounce pouches of Organic Coconut Smiles. The recalled Organic Coconut Smiles have the barcode 8 13449 02099 3 and the expiration date 6/1/2018.

On April 2, the FDA’s identified 16 retail locations, which International Harvest reported it supplied with potentially contaminated bulk dried coconut. The FDA is providing this information because the bulk product may have been sold to consumers without any packaging that that could have enabled them to know the product has been recalled. This information is separate from information already provided about the recalled packaged products. The investigation is ongoing and the FDA will provide updated information as it becomes available.

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What are the Symptoms of Salmonella Typhimurium Infection?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

How Soon After Exposure do Symptoms Appear?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

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What are the Complications of Salmonella Infections?

In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Who is at Risk?

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. Children younger than five, the elderly, and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. 

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What Specific Products were Recalled?

Product DescriptionBrandUPCUnit WTCode Date / Lot Number
Coconut Smiles OrganicNatural Grocers803481010 ozPacked-on dates prior to 18-075
Go Smile! Dried CoconutInternational Harvest7 39446 40220 79 ozSell by dates: 010118, 020118, 030118, 040118, 050118,060118, 070118, 080118, 090118, 100118, 110118, 120118, 010119, 020119, 030119
Go Smiles Dried Coconut RawInternational Harvest 25 lbBatch/Lot #’s: OCSM-0010, OCSM-0011, OCSM-0014.

[See chart below for retail locations that reportedly received this bulk product]

What Retail Locations Are Reported As Having Received Recalled Bulk Product? (Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw)

CompanyCity and State
14 Carrot Whole FoodsLexington, SC
2 J’s Fresh MarketGreat Falls, MT
Boxed GreensTempe, AZ
Food WorksCheshire, CT
Food Works Natural MarketOld Saybrook, CT
Good Earth Co-op*St Cloud, MN
Health NutsBayside, NY
Lazy AcresEncinitas, CA
Lazy AcresSanta Barbara, CA
Moonflower Community CooperativeMoab, UT
Mountain MamaColorado Springs, CO
Rainbow Bridge Natural FoodOjai, CA
Rainbow GrocerySan Francisco, CA
Vitamin CottageLakewood, CO
Vitamin CottageGolden, CO
Wenatchee Natural FoodsWenatchee, WA

Note: This list comprises firms to which International Harvest has reported to FDA that it distributed recalled bulk product (Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw). Firms may be added or removed as more information becomes available.

*Indicates firms that have informed the FDA that they did not receive recalled product from International Harvest.

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What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do?

Restaurants and retailers should not sell or utilize any recalled dried coconut listed above. Restaurants and retailers should dispose of any of the listed dried coconut products by throwing them in the garbage.

Restaurants and retailers should also be aware that the recalled coconut may be a source of pathogens and should control the potential for cross–contamination of food processing equipment and the food processing environment. They should follow the steps below:

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have processed and packaged any potentially contaminated products need to be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products.
  • Retailers that have sold bulk product should clean and sanitize the containers used to hold the product.
  • Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help to minimize the likelihood of cross–contamination.

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What Do Consumers Need To Do?

People should not eat any coconut from the lots listed above. If they have any of the listed products, they should throw them in the garbage or return them to the place of purchase for credit or refund.

People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated coconut should talk to their health care providers.

Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.

For food preparation surfaces and food cutting utensils that may have come in contact with the potentially contaminated coconut, it is very important that the consumers thoroughly clean these areas and items.

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Who Should be Contacted?

People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated coconut should talk to their health care providers. Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website: http://www.fda.gov.

Additional Information

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Page Last Updated: 04/02/2018
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