Chobani, an American brand of Greek-style yogurt, has pulled 15 flavors off store shelves across the country. Two weeks ago, Chobani admitted to customers the problem was “a type of mold” and then introduced a voluntary recall last week.
“Through extensive testing and expert consultation, we now know that the mold found in the products we voluntarily recalled…is a species called Mucor circinelloides,” the company said in a statement on their website, and added, “Mucor circinelloides is not considered a foodborne pathogen.”
Amy Juaristi, a spokeswoman for Chobani, told The Oregonian last Tuesday the problem was “a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment.”
She said only 5 percent of the company’s yogurt had been contaminated with the mold and that all of the bad containers were produced at its plant in Twin Falls, Idaho.
“If you’ve purchased these products with the code 16-012, best by dates 9/11/2-13 – 10/7/2013, please discard and contact our customer loyalty team.”
But The Oregonian reports Dahlyla Lang-Knight, a mother in Orchards, Wash., said two of her small children got sick after eating Chobani yogurt. She and other customers notified the Food and Drug Administration.
“I’m furious,” Lang-Knight said. “I want them to take responsibility for this.” Both Lang-Knight’s children, a 3-year-old and 14-month-old ate the yogurt, and that evening her 3-year-old started vomiting. The next morning, her 14-month-old threw up in her car seat.
Lang-Knight added the yogurt in her refrigerator swelled and started hissing. And her children developed diarrhea and have been sick ever since, she said.
According to The Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt, Chobani accounts for half of all Greek yogurt sales in the US despite having been founded six years ago in an old Kraft plant in New York state.
“Yet for all its feel-good, friendly marketing, Chobani has angered some by initially giving scant information about the cause of its recall and then refusing to be specific on the type of mold that caused the problem.”
Karen Tonso wrote on the company’s Facebook page:
“Ok, we have two [people] ill – an adult with gastric issues and a rash, and a toddler who hit the skids with gastric for about 10 days. Totally not cool Chobani!.”
“Please publish the name of the bacterial contaminant so we can get proper treatment that takes our particular medical conditions into account.”
Tonso’s complaint was one of dozens on Chobani’s Facebook.
“So this is why my kids’ tummies were so sick and why they now refuse to eat the yoghurt,” said Lorraine Colwell.
Another customer, Lisa Larsen, said Chobani’s “delayed actions in reporting problems cost me a night in the emergency room, severe vomiting , and stabbing stomach pain.”
A spokeswoman for Chobani said the company was investigating and responding to claims of illness.
“Since the problem was first identified, we have had some claims of illness and are investigating and responding to those claims, as there’s nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our consumers. I do not have a specific number.
“While this type of mold is unlikely to have ill health effects, due to some claims of illness the company has decided to go from voluntarily withdrawing to voluntarily recalling the limited amount of potentially affected product.”