Chobani is in more hot water after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was investigating at least 89 sicknesses allegedly tied to eating Choabni’s moldy yogurt.
According to the Magic Valley (Idaho) Times-News, FDA spokeswoman Tamara Ward explains that while no cases have been confirmed, 89 people have described nausea and cramps after eating the tainted yogurt. Read more here.
However, one food-safety expert wonders if the illnesses might be connected with something else.
"I'm not discounting the consumers, that they didn't get sick, but it's more than likely not the mold that made you sick," Randy Worobo, professor of food science at Cornell University, said in an interview carried by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The species they say are involved, it hasn't been linked to previous food-borne illness outbreaks. It's generally regarded as a spoilage organism."
"With this mold, if you were to ingest it, you would not get vomiting or diarrhea within hours of consuming it. A lot of the emails I've had, they said they fed it to their child or themselves and within an hour, they had nausea or vomiting or diarrhea. That's only with pre-formed toxins, when you had microorganisms that produce that vomiting or diarrhea toxins. This mold doesn't have that diarrhea toxins,” he explains.
In the meantime, Law360 reports that Chobani was hit earlier this week with a proposed class action lawsuit in California federal court, accused of manufacturing and distributing mold-tainted Greek yogurt. Click here for more.
Last week, Chobani attempted to calm worries about their moldy yogurt recall, and announced that the mold at the center of the recall – Mucor circinelloide – does not pose a health risk to most consumers.
The recall affected less than 5 percent of Chobani’s products and even prompted a federal probe. The mold caused the yogurt products to swell, distorting the packaging and even causing some to burst.
"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," Ulukaya said in a letter to customers.
“I'm sorry we let you down,” he added.