Food & Drink

CDC investigating a salmonella outbreak that has reached nine states

The Centers for Disease Control announced Tuesday afternoon that it’s investigating a multistate salmonella outbreak that involves a brand of shredded coconut sold in 13 states, including Florida.

So far, there are 25 confirmed cases of salmonella in nine states with the most being in California (nine). Other states infected in this outbreak so far: Pennsylvania (five), Washington (four), Massachusetts (two), New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado and Oklahoma (one each). Six people have been hospitalized.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut, distributed by Evershing International Trading Company, is the likely source of this multistate outbreak,” the CDC posted on its website.

That’s the same brand of shredded coconut, sold in 16-ounce bags, recalled Jan. 3 after testing by the state of Massachusetts found salmonella. And the recall was the rare all lots, all expiration dates recall. The coconut was distributed in Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington, California, and Oklahoma, then redistributed to Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Texas. Anyone with this product should return it to the store of purchase. For those with frozen shredded coconut who aren’t sure if it’s the recalled Coconut Tree Brand, the CDC advises, when in doubt, throw it out.

The CDC says 10 of 16 people interviewed recalled eating or maybe eating coconut and, of those 10, eight people told the CDC they’d had an Asian-style dessert drink that contained frozen shredded coconut. It was through those drinks that Massachusetts state employees first discovered the salmonella.

Salmonella, a bacteria discovered by Dr. Daniel Salmon, sickens almost 1 million people a year, hospitalizes 19,000 and kills 380, according to the CDC. Within 12 to 72 hours of infection, a person begins suffering diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people recover without treatment after four to seven days of sickness. But if the diarrhea forces hospitalization, the salmonella infection can go into the bloodstream and become fatal.

Customers with questions can call Evershing International Trading Company at 408-975-9660, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal