The tangy, thick, and creamy decadent taste of Chobani — popular Greek yogurt brand — has become a food staple in American households in recent years. The high protein content and low fat in Chobani yogurts make the consumer feel fuller while eating healthy. Five years ago, the now popular Greek yogurt brand had practically no revenue, but earlier this year the company sold more than $1 billion worth of yogurt, said Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani CEO, to Bloomberg Businessweek. Overall, Greek yogurt has seen an economic boom in the industry, accounting for 36 percent of the $6.5 billion in total U.S. yogurt sales. Chobani yogurts come in six non-fat varieties and is available in three different sizes for consumers. While consumption of Chobani products increase, one group in the U.S. is banned from consuming a particular flavor that is thought to have trace amounts of THC in its serving.
Chobani’s Blueberry Power Flip flavor has been banned, confirmed the Air Force on Monday, reports the New York Times. The ban comes in fear of the product's hemp seeds that are believed to have traces of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient that is found in marijuana. Hemp seed oil products and hemp seeds were added to the list of forbidden substances in 1999 by the Air Force after concerns that these products could meddle with drug testing results of service members.
“The Air Force has not restricted military members from consuming Chobani Greek yogurt; rather, only Chobani yogurt that contains hemp seed or hemp seed oil is prohibited, just as any product which contains or is derived from hemp seed or hemp seed oil is prohibited,” said Capt. Adam Koudelka, legal adviser for the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory in Texas, the Air Force Times reports.
Service members who fail to abide by the Air Force’s regulations are committing a violation of Article 92, UCMJ, which clearly underlines that products made with hemp seeds and hemp seed oil contain various levels of THC that are detectable in military drug tests and are therefore prohibited for ingestion.
The nutritional value in hemp seeds, compared to other seeds, is based on the composition of its oil and protein that contain all the essential amino acids. These seeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can significantly reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke, said Cassandra Forsythe, Ph.D., a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut, to Men's Health. Healthcare professionals in the medical field consider hemp seeds to be a power food because of its endless nutritional benefits, despite its cannabis classification.
THC levels in hemp seeds found in the blueberry-flavored Chobani yogurt are said to only contain about 10 grams of hemp seeds. The levels of hemp seeds usually carry less than 10 parts per million per 100 grams of hemp seeds, making the maximum amount of THC in this Chobani Greek yogurt to be 1 part per million, said Jessica DiGennaro, a spokesperson for Chobani, in an e-mail to the New York Times. Fifty parts of THC per billion per 100 grams is the level for failing drug tests, according to the federal government’s regulations.
DiGennaro believes it is unlikely that consumption of hemp seed oil and hemp seed products will result in a failed drug test because of the relatively low THC content that is usually maintained below 5 and 2 parts per million each. Despite this low THC content, Chobani cannot officially confirm the impact that consumption of this particular yogurt will have on drug testing in the Air Force.
To learn about what other foods contain hemp, click here.