Mold In Your Yogurt? Chobani Issues Recall

Customers complained about a bad taste and unusual consistency, while 89 people reported becoming sick after eating Chobani Greek-style yogurt.

So Chobani, the biggest maker of Greek yogurt in the U.S., issued a recall of the yogurt on Sept. 5. The bad batch containing mold was made in their Twin Falls, Idaho plant. 35 varieties of the yogurt were affected, and some of the cups that weren’t eaten were reportedly bloated.

The recalled cups have the number 16-012, and their best-buy dates are from Sept. 11 to Oct. 7. The company first issued a withdrawal, and then a recall. The recall was voluntary, and the company worked with the Food and Drug Administration to get the entire batch of affected yogurt off store shelves. Chobani said that, by the time of the recall, the product was 95% removed, and the contaminated cups amounted to less than 5% of their production.

Chobani stated on its website that customers who still have cups of the recalled yogurt should throw them out, and contact for refunds. On Sept 11, Chobani announced that its shelves were restocked with fresh yogurt. The company has also said that the problem that caused the contamination has been resolved.

The 89 people who reported illness complained mainly about nausea and cramps. The mold that caused the spoilage has been identified as Mucor circinelloides. Health officials said that it is not a foodborne pathogen, and the contamination is not a serious health threat. Cornell University food science professor Randy Worobo agreed, saying the mold should not be a risk to most people, although inhaling it could be a problem for some.

However, a Boise, Idaho woman reported becoming very sick on Aug. 30 after eating Chobani yogurt. She said she had such severe diarrhea and vomiting she had to be rushed to the hospital. The woman has diabetes and an auto-immune disorder, and said she knows that could have contributed to her illness, but said, “I really think it was from the Chobani yogurt.” Local health officials are investigating to see if there is a connection.

The FDA made a statement in which it agreed that a compromised immune system could contribute to any illness the mold might cause. The statement, however, clarified that, “although the mold could cause spoilage in dairy products, it’s not a danger to most consumers, and is actually used as a flavor additive in some products.”

Chobani said it “sincerely apologizes to its fans and consumers impacted by this issue.”

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