Chobani has pinpointed a common type of mold as the cause of a "quality issue" that led it to pull pots of its popular Greek yogurt from retailer shelves across the US.
Last week, New York-based Chobani announced that it was working “voluntarily and proactively” with US retailers to “remove and replace” pots of its branded Greek yogurt from shelves following scores of complaints from customers that product packaging had swelled.
In a statement sent to DairyReporter.com earlier today, Chobani confirmed that it had identified the cause and origin of the issue following an internal investigation.
“We investigated the cause of the issue and have identified a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment,” said the company.
“The product in question is less than 5% of our production and is limited to cups produced at our Idaho facility, which accounts for only one third of our production capacity. We have been diligently working with our retail partners and have voluntarily and proactively removed and replaced the vast majority of potentially affected cups with the code 16-012, expiration dates 9/11/2013 – 10/7/2013.”
Quality issue, not safety
Despite its efforts to remove the affected products from shelves, Chobani has insisted that this is “an issue of quality, not food safety” and has stopped short of referring to the action as a recall.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com yesterday, Chobani director of public relations, Amy Juaristi, confirmed that the company had traced the issue back to a specific consignment.
“We received feedback from some customers who had experienced swelling and bloating of packaging,” said Juaristi. “So we have been working to replace those products at retail level and remove them from customers that have already taken them home.”
“We have traced the affected products back to a batch of our products.”
She was, however, unable to confirm how many units had been removed from shelves and replaced with unaffected pots.
No UK complaints
Meanwhile, UK consumers of Chobani Strained yogurt can rest assured that products shipped to Great Britain are not affected.
Chobani traced the issue back to its Twin Falls plant in Idaho. Only products manufactured at the company's New Berlin, New York processing facility are transported across the Atlantic to be marketed in the UK.
“We have received no complaints from the UK,” Juaristi said.