After weeks of speculation, Chobani has finally identified the source of the bubbling and fizzing sounds from yogurt cups. It is a common mold known as Mucor circinelloides, mainly associated with fruits, vegetables, and dairy. The mold has been reported to cause spoilage like swelling and bloating in yogurt. It is not considered a disease-causing food borne microorganism.
“This mold should not pose a health risk to most consumers. Very rarely, it can act as an opportunistic pathogen, but not through food and usually only for people with compromised immune systems through inhalation,” said Randy Worobo, a professor of Food Science in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The organism is regularly used for the production of natural flavor compounds that are widely used in the food industry.”
Chobani's customer service representatives have been reaching out to unhappy customers through the company Facebook page. Many of the complaints that consumers have been posting are concerns of stomach virus symptoms or certain cases in which pregnant women or children have eaten the Chobani products.
The company also notes that not all of the products have been affected, but only those originating from their Idaho plant. “Please note: the IMS code for product produced at our Idaho plant is 16-012. The code for product produced at our New York plant is 36-8216, which is not included in this voluntary recall.”
Customers with Chobani products marked with the code 16-012 dated from Sept. 11, 2013 to Oct. 7, 2013 should contact the customer service department.