Federal and state health officials are investigating a multistate Salmonella outbreak connected with a potentially contaminated organic packaged coconut that was sold at Natural Grocers stores, a product that was the subject of a recall posted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday.
In the recall notice, Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Market, Inc., based in Lakewood, Colo., said it was recalling its Natural Grocers brand 10-ounce Coconut Smiles Organic due to potential Salmonella contamination. It said six illnesses have been reported, the company's own routine tests found Salmonella in some packages, and a sample taken by the FDA was also positive for Salmonella.
The product is packaged in clear plastic 10-ounce bags bearing the Natural Grocers label. All packages with packed-on dates before 18-075 (Mar 16, 2018) are subject to the recall. The products were distributed to 145 Natural Grocers stores in 19 states: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
CDC working with several states
Brittany Behm, MPH, a public affairs specialist with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases told CIDRAP News that the CDC is working with several states on a multistate Salmonella outbreak investigation.
"We are working with states to confirm the number of ill people in each state and the release of state-specific information," she said, adding that so far information suggests Coconut Smiles Organic may be contaminated with Salmonella and is one likely source of the outbreak infections.
"CDC plans to post an announcement as soon as possible, which will include a recommendation that people not eat recalled Coconut Smiles Organic from Natural Grocers," Behm said, adding that the investigation is still under way.
The outbreak does not appear to be related to an earlier 2018 Salmonella outbreak linked to frozen shredded coconut, which sickened 27 people in nine states.
Mar 19 FDA recall notice
Feb 15 CIDRAP News scan "CDC declares coconut-linked Salmonella investigation over"