Frozen coconut linked to Salmonella outbreak with 26 ill

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Evershing International Trading Company recalled Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut
Evershing International Trading Company recalled Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut
US officials are investigating a Salmonella outbreak that began in May and has sickened 25 people in nine states linked to frozen shredded coconut.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 24 people are infected with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- and one person with S. Newport.

One ill person infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- has been reported in Canada.

Link to frozen shredded coconut

Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut is the likely source of the outbreak.

Frozen shredded coconut was used as an ingredient in Asian-style dessert drinks served at restaurants. It was also sold in grocery stores and markets in several states.

It can last for several months if kept frozen and may still be in retail stores or people’s homes.

Ten of 16 people interviewed reported eating or maybe eating coconut. Of these, eight had an Asian-style dessert drink that contained frozen shredded coconut.

WGS showed isolates from those sick are closely related genetically which means they are likely to share a common source of infection.

Illness dates range from 11 May to 4 November 2017 and six people (24%) have been hospitalized.

Ill people range in age from one to 82 and 19 (76%) are male.

Lab testing finds Salmonella

In November, laboratory testing of a sample of coconut milk made in one restaurant in New York identified a strain of S. ​Newport.

It was from coconut milk made with Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut and other ingredients.

WGS showed the S.​ Newport isolated was related genetically to a S.​ Newport isolate from an ill person from Massachusetts who had consumed an Asian-style dessert drink.

In December, officials in Massachusetts collected food from a restaurant where that ill person had the drink.

One sample from an unopened package of Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut identified a strain of Salmonella new to the PulseNet database and not linked to any illnesses.

"This case demonstrates how public health in Massachusetts works in a coordinated way to protect the food supply and enable consumers to eat at restaurants with confidence,"​ said Monica Bharel, Massachusetts public health commissioner.

In January, Evershing International Trading Company recalled all Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut ‘Dua Bao’ in 16-ounce plastic bags.

Product is distributed in Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Florida and Texas.

On 12 January, lab testing of samples from Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-.

Testing of other samples found several types of Salmonella including S.​ Javiana, S.​ Rissen and S.​ Thompson. These samples were from unopened packages of Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut sold before 3 January 2018.

CDC is reviewing the PulseNet database to see if the other isolates from frozen shredded coconut are linked to illnesses.

Related topics: Food Safety

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