Vita Coco has launched an internal investigation of its product line after a New York woman reported finding a foreign object — what she called an “octopus looking thing” in her coconut water — prompting a media frenzy after a Facebook post last month that has now been shared more than 52,000 times.
Barbara Kline, of Goshen, N.Y., said she found the mysterious object in a Vita Coco carton she purchased from a local ShopRite late last month. After accidentally swallowing a chunk of the item, she said she vomited for several days and suffered diarrhea for a week, according to the Daily Mail. After pouring out the remaining coconut water, she cut the package open, and posted pictures of the objects she found inside to Facebook, she said.
Speaking to BevNET, Vita Coco communications director Arthur Gallego said the company has been in touch with Kline and is investigating the claims. On Tuesday, the rest of the production lot of the allegedly tainted bottle was cleared as safe. The bottle was not due to expire until July 21.
Vita Coco is a natural beverage that does not contain preservatives, but the product is quality tested both internally and by a third party company before it hits the market, a system Gallego called “the best quality control system in the coconut water category.”
Gallego said the Daily Mail story was mostly accurate to what is currently known about the incident, however, contrary to what was reported, Kline has not yet sent a sample of the object to Vita Coco. According to Gallego, the company has been in contact with Kline for several days, but Kline said she was not sure if she trusted the company to properly investigate the object. It also took Kline more than a week to get the product info to the company after she initially contacted them on April 26, he said. The company did not receive the information until May 5.
Vita Coco recommended she send the object to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for testing.
“We can’t do anything until we get the product,” Gallego said.
Any test results will be reported to the factory of origin of the bottle, Gallego said. The company’s insurer has also been in touch with Kline.
BevNET has reached out to Kline for comment and will update this story as it develops.