March 21, 2018

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Coconut Tree Shredded Frozen Coconut Ends

The Salmonella outbreak that is linked to recalled Coconut Tree shredded frozen coconut is over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least 27 people were infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- or Salmonella Newport in nine states.

Salmonella Newport Coconut Tree 21518

Six people were hospitalized in this outbreak. No deaths were reported.

All epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence found that Coconut Tree brand frozen shredded coconut, which was distributed by Evershing Trading Company, was the likely source of this Salmonella outbreak. Public health officials used the PulseNet system to identify people who were part of this outbreak. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) were used to identify the DNA of the bacteria responsible for the illnesses.

Twenty-six people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-  and one person was infected with Salmonella Newport. The case count by state is: California (10), Colorado (1), Connecticut (1), Massachusetts (2), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (5), and Washington state (5).

Illness onset dates ranged from January 9, 2017 to November 4, 2017. Ill persons ranged in age from 1 to 82 years. The median age of patients is 15. Most of those interviewed, 70%, are male.

WGS analysis did not identify any predicted antimicrobial resistance in isolates taken from 15 patients. They were not resistant to any antibiotics tested.

In interviews, ill persons were asked about the foods they ate and other possible exposures the week before they got sick. Ten, or 63%, of the people interviewed said they are or maybe ate coconut. Of those ten patients, 8, or 80%, said they consumed an Asian-style dessert drink that contained frozen shredded coconut.

Lab testing of one sample of coconut milk made in one restaurant in New York did not identify the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-, but did find Salmonela Newport. This sample was from coconut milk that was made with Coconut Tree frozen shredded coconut. WGS showed that this isolate was closely related genetically to a Salmonella Newport isolate taken from an ill person in Massachusetts who had consumed an Asian-style drink.

In December 2017, Massachusetts public heal officials collected food items from a restaurant where that ill person consumed the dessert drink. One sample from frozen shredded coconut found a strain of Salmonella that was new to the PulseNet database. That’s when Coconut Tree recalled all of their frozen shredded coconut packaged in 16 ounce plastic bags.

Then, Massachusetts officials returned to the restaurant and collected more Coconut Tree coconut in January 2018. On January 12, lab tests revealed the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport and another strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-. Other types of Salmonella bacteria were found as well, including Salmonella Javiana, Salmonella Rissen, and Salmonella Thompson. WGS showed that the additional strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- isolated from the frozen shredded coconut was closely related genetically to Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- isolated from two ill people.

If you have any of this product in your home, do not eat it, even if you plan to cook it. Discard it in a double bagged or sealed package, or take it back to the store where you bought it for a refund. While the outbreak is over, consumers who aren’t aware of this outbreak and recall could eat the product and get sick.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody, nausea, and vomiting. If you ate Coconut Tree frozen shredded coconut and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor.

Bad Bug Law Team | Pritzker Law Firm

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Salmonella infection after eating Coconut Tree frozen shredded coconut, contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900.

Pritzker Hageman law firm presents and helps people who have been sickened by contaminated food. We get answers, compensation for those who have been injured, and justice through our work. Our experienced lawyers represent clients sickened with bacterial infections in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against retailers, grocery stores, food processors, restaurants, daycare centers, schools, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed because of hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli O157:H7 infection.

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