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Infections linked to Natural Grocers coconut; recall underway

Six illnesses have been reported in connection with Natural Grocers brand organic Coconut Smiles, which are now under recall after the company and the FDA confirmed Salmonella contamination in the product.

Natural Grocers of Lakewood, CO, distributed the implicated Coconut Smiles to 145 stores in 19 states, according to a recall news release from the company.

Courtesy of Natural Grocers

“The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in some packages,” Natural Grocers reported. “The recall was initiated after it was discovered that a sample taken by the Food and Drug Administration was positive for Salmonella.

“Production of the product has been suspended while the Food and Drug Administration and the company continue their investigation into the source of the problem. Six illnesses have been reported by individuals who ate Coconut Smiles Organic purchased from Natural Grocers. Consumers who may have purchased this product should return it to the store for credit or refund.”

The FDA posted the company’s March 17 recall notice on Monday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also had not posted information on the outbreak, but the federal public health agency generally does not report on outbreaks unless they involve more than one state.

Consumers can identify the recalled “Coconut Smiles Organic” by looking for the following label information:

  • The recalled product is packaged in clear plastic bags weighing 10 ounces;
  • The “Natural Grocers” brand is on the label;
  • All packages with packed-on dates prior to 18-075 are subject to recall. The packed-on date can be found in the bottom left-hand corner of the label;
  • UPC number 8034810.

Natural Grocers distributed the recalled coconut product 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. Consumers can find the specific locations of the Natural Grocers stores in those states at https://www.naturalgrocers.com/storelocations/store-directory/.

Consumers with questions may contact the company by calling Customer Service at 303-986-4600, Ext. 80531, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time.

Advice to consumers
Salmonella is a microorganism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, including diabetics, cancer patients, transplant recipients and HIV patients.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella poisoning should seek medical attention immediately and tell their doctors about their possible exposure to the pathogen.

Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea that is often bloody, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.

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