September 6, 2013
Chobani Announces Greek Yogurt Recall After Illness Reports Surface
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Yogurt-maker Chobani has finally issued an official recall of some of its Greek yogurt cups following reports of illness. The New York-based company asked retailers to start removing the yogurt cups from shelves last week following consumer reports of fizzing yogurt coming from hissing cups.Chobani’s chief executive, Hamdi Ulukaya, said a certain kind of mold, Mucor circinelloides, commonly found in dairy operations, may have infected parts of its Idaho plant, leading to the diseased yogurt. Ulukaya also stressed that this move was the company’s decision, not the FDA’s. The problem cups have an expiration date between 9/11/13 and 10/7/13 and have the code 16-012 printed on the label. Anyone with one of these infected cups or tubs of yogurt can contact Chobani for a replacement.
The yogurt company first brought up the issue on August 31, saying it had “heard quality concerns surrounding certain products, which were experiencing swelling or bloating.” At the time the company only asked retail partners to withdraw or hold these products at their own discretion. On September 3, Chobani updated its blog and said it had found the source of the infected cups.
“Our thorough investigation has identified a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment. The product in question is less than 5 percent of our production and is limited to products produced at our Idaho facility, which accounts for only one third of our production capacity,” reads the blog post by Ulukaya.
Today they company has upgraded its voluntary withdrawal of the product to a full recall. Though the yogurt maker has been working with the FDA to understand the gravity of the situation, it says the decision to recall the dairy product was theirs to make. Chobani claims “over 95 percent” of the affected units have already been removed, thanks to the voluntary withdrawal.
Any yogurt product without the specific “16-012” code printed on the label is not affected and is therefore deemed safe. Ulukaya has promised the mold issue has been “totally fixed” at the Idaho plant. He also says the mold became an issue because the company doesn’t use any preservatives in its products.
"Everybody in the company took this hard," said Ulukaya in a statement to USA Today. "It shook us up."
Though he didn’t have exact numbers, he did say the number of people who reported illness after eating the yogurt was not in the hundreds of thousands. Those who did become sick after eating the yogurt reported symptoms from diarrhea to visits to the hospital.
“Umm - I have had quite a few with puffy lids and they almost taste carbonated! Am I going to get sick???” asked one commenter on Chobani’s Facebook page.
“I have been very nauseous lately and couldn't figure out why - could it be the yogurt???”
Chobani said some of its 3.5-ounce cups, 6-ounce cups, 16-ounce tubs and 32-ounce tubs may have been affected by this recall. The company's Chobani Bite 3.5-ounce cups and Chobani Flip 5.3-ounce containers may also have been affected by this recall.