Federal health officials are investigating a multi-state Salmonella outbreak, which is believed to have stemmed from certain contaminated shredded coconut products distributed to restaurants and grocery stores across the United States, causing more than two dozen illnesses and several hospitalizations.
The FDA announced a Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut recall on January 3, indicating that the products are believed to be the source of a multi-state salmonella poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least 25 consumers and hospitalized six.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) opened a salmonella outbreak investigation on January 16, following reports of Salmonella or Salmonella Newport illnesses across nine states. According to the CDC investigation, the source of the contamination is believed to have come from the recalled shredded coconut.
Officials from the agency are working with state and local authorities in states where illnesses were reported to identify additional illnesses that could be related to the outbreak.
So far, it appears that the illness dates ranged from May 11, 2017 through November 4, 2017 for individuals between the ages of 1 year to 82 years in age across Washington, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
On January 12, officials collected random samples of Coconut Tree Brand frozen shredded coconut products at Evershing International Trading Company’s manufacturing plant and discovered the products contained very similar strains of salmonella seen in sickened patients.
Through epidemiological and traceback investigations, CDC officials determined that shredded coconut products from Evershing are the source of the contamination. In interviews, 16 ill people reported eating or maybe eating coconut products, and roughly 80% of people reported having an Asian-style dessert drink that contained frozen shredded coconut.
Salmonella infections can cause mild to severe health consequences depending upon the individual. The bacteria may cause a healthy person to experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain whereas the young or elderly with weakened immune systems may face more severe consequences, including fatal infections.
Among pregnant women, salmonella poisoning may cause still births and miscarriages. Occasionally, salmonella infections may travel through the bloodstream and produce illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis, which can cause severe to potentially life threatening health consequences.
Evershing International Trading Co. recalled certain Coconut Tree Brand frozen shredded coconut products after random sample testing by the state of Massachusetts identified traces of similar salmonella strains at the plant.
The recall included all of the brands 16 ounce bags of shredded coconut products that were distributed to Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington, California, and Oklahoma with redistribution to Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York Pennsylvania, Oregon, Florida, and Texas.
The frozen shredded coconut products were distributed to grocery stores and restaurants and can have up to a 3 month freezer life. Customers are being asked to immediately stop serving and consuming the recalled coconut products immediately and to contact Evershing International Trading Company at 408-975-9660 for information on how to receive a refund.