One of the top yogurt providers in the country is being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because it asked several retailers to remove its product from their shelves last week. Greek yogurt maker Chobani issued the removal request because some of its products were experiencing problems with mold.
Chobani became aware of the problem after customers complained via social media about off-tasting yogurt with bloated containers. Some customers said they were having gastrointestinal issues and others lamented the yogurt's "runny" consistency.
After being made aware of the problem, Chobani contacted retailers directly instead of issuing a recall notice.
On Tuesday, Chobani told an industry publication that it had "investigated the cause of the (swelling/bloating) and have identified a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment." The company said the problem had affected less than five percent of its products.
By Thursday however, Chobani seemed to realize the seriousness of the issue and released the following statement:
"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our consumers, and we are taking all of the necessary steps to uphold our very rigid quality standards. If you've purchased these products with the code 16-012, best by dates 9/11/2-13 – 10/7/2013, please discard and contact our customer loyalty team."
The FDA is investigating whether Chobani handled the situation properly and the company did enough to communicate any risk to the public, Yahoo News reported.
A spokeswoman for Chobani maintained that the company dealt with the mold problem appropriately.
"Since the problem was first identified, we have had some claims of illness and are investigating and responding to those claims, as there's nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our consumers. I do not have a specific number.
Chobani began a proactive and voluntary withdrawal of product, after learning that a small quantity had been affected by a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment.
While this type of mold is unlikely to have ill health effects, due to some claims of illness the company has decided to go from voluntarily withdrawing to voluntarily recalling the limited amount of potentially affected product."