Salmonella Outbreak Lined To Dried Coconut Sparks FDA Investigation

by: The Knowledge Group

April 16, 2018


Coconuts are often a favorite tropical treat that conjure up leisurely vacations on the beach. Yet recently this fruity delight may not be so sweet. A recent multi-state outbreak of salmonella poisoning has been linked to dried coconut, prompting the Center for Disease Control to issue a warning to the public to avoid certain brands of the food.

The warning not only cautions individuals from buying and consuming the fruit but also retailers and restaurants from serving dried coconut. Those that have come into contact with the products are advised to take full sanitary precautions and dispose of it in a sealed bag in the trash so that even pets and animals won’t come into contact with it.

The Food and Drug Administration has stepped into investigate the problem as 13 people from eight states were confirmed to be contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium that was found on certain brands of dried coconut. The infection was so severe in three people that they required hospitalization. Those who have been infected with salmonella can have fevers, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that can last as long as seven days. Salmonella infection symptoms can also take up to three days to appear. Though the impact of a salmonella infection can spread from the intestines to a person’s bloodstream and other parts of the body causing a large scale infection and even death if not treated immediately with antibiotics.

In order to track down the cause of the outbreak the FDA has been working with different states to collect the contaminated coconut from homes, grocery stores, and distribution centers. The investigation prompted some manufacturers to begin recalling dried coconut that had been sold in retail outlets and online with sell-by dates ranging from January 2018 to March 2019. Though because of lag time in getting sick and reporting to the CDC, people are being cautioned not to eat dried coconut they may have purchased within the past few months if they aren’t sure if their particular variety has been recalled.