Mold in Yogurt Tied to Illness

Chobani greek yogurt recalled after reports of illness and possible mold contamination

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) People across the country might want to check their fridge after hearing this news: Chobani Greek Yogurt is voluntarily recalling many products after reports of issues relating to mold.

According to Chobani, the mold in question, Mucor circinelloides, is not considered a foodborne pathogen. CBS News reported that there are 89 illnesses potentially linked to the recalled products.

Chobani has asked customers and retailers to discard any of the recalled products.

"Check expiration dates on food products."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that the voluntary recall was initiated last week "...due to reports of product bloating and swelling and some claims of illness."

According to CBS News, Tamara Ward, Press Officer with the FDA, said nausea and cramps have been common symptoms of the 89 ill people.

"While the people who fell ill ate the Chobani products, no link has been confirmed between the illnesses and the yogurt," explained CBS News.

According to a statement on the Chobani website, the potentially contaminated products were produced in Twin Falls, Idaho and display code 16-012 with expiration dates that fall between September 11 and October 7. Recalled items include yogurts of all flavors.

"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," said Chobani.

Chobani reported that over 95 percent of the products have been identified and removed from store shelves.

In the Chobani statement, Randy Worobo, a professor of food science at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, said that the mold Mucor circinelloides is commonly associated with dairy, fruits and vegetables.

“This mold should not pose a health risk to most consumers," said Worobo. "Very rarely, it can act as an opportunistic pathogen, but not through food and usually only for people with compromised immune systems through inhalation. The organism is regularly used for the production of natural flavor compounds that are widely used in the food industry.”

In a separate statement, Chobani's founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, apologized to consumers.

"While this type of mold is common in the dairy environment, particularly when using only natural ingredients that are absent of artificial preservatives, it's still unacceptable to me and all of our yogurt makers," said Ulukaya.

Chobani has directed customers who purchased the recalled yogurt to discard the products and contact their customer care for replacements or refunds. 

Review Date: 
September 10, 2013
Last Updated:
September 11, 2013