Chobani is working to take contaminated product off of store shelves this week in a concentrated effort after reports of consumer illness began flooding in.
The company says they have identified the issue with a limited supply of yogurt that has the product code 16-012 on the package and expiration dates of Sept. 11 to Oct. 7--a type of mold commonly found in dairy products--and are working to replace the product as quickly as they can.
"We recently identified mold in a limited amount of product that came from our Idaho facility," Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya wrote in a letter on the company's website. "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."
Amy Juaristi, director of public relations for the company, said that they are working with the FDA to determine how the yogurt became contaminated but still don't have any definitive answers.
"We've received reports of people not feeling well, so we take a lot of care because it's important for us to ensure their safety and satisfaction with our product," Juaristi said. "We've identified the issue at hand and are working very hard to make sure it's addressed moving forward."
"This happens commonly in these types of facilities,” Gulhan Unlu, a food microbiologist with the Unviersity of Idaho, said. "It could be people working in the plant, any kind of surface. It could be air. The (contamination) can develop by itself. It could've been something added in post-production, like strawberries."