Coconut product sold at Rainbow Bridge being recalled

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
An Ojai natural foods store that was supplied with dried coconut potentially contaminated with salmonella has halted sales of the product and has discarded its remaining stock.
Ernest Niglio, general manager at Rainbow Bridge Natural Food at 211 E. Matilija St., said he was unaware of any customers getting sick from eating International Harvest brand Organic Coconut Smiles.
On April 2, Rainbow Bridge was identified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as one of 16 retail locations in the U.S. that may have sold the product.
The list was supplied to the FDA by International Harvest of Mount Vernon, N.Y., which recalled 14,620 pounds of the bulk product.
Niglio said the store had received one 25-pound box of the bulk product, but he didn't know how much, if any, made it into a bulk bin or how much, if any, was sold.
The bulk bin was the only manner in which Rainbow Bridge sold the product, which also comes pre-packaged and repackaged.
International Harvest recalled 24,270 bags of packaged dried coconut.
The product, linked to a multi-state salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 13 people in eight states, was discarded soon after the recall was announced March 16, Niglio said.
A total of five people in California were infected by the outbreak, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The symptoms of a salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Most people recover without treatment within four to seven days.
The CDC reported three people were hospitalized after becoming ill, but no deaths.
Niglio urged customers who may have purchased the product at Rainbow Bridge to return it for a full refund.
Customers who aren't sure if their coconut was recalled should not eat it and should throw it away, he said.
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