The recall comes about a week after the company started asking retailers to pull the products from shelves because some cups were "swelling and bloating." They declined to declare a formal recall at that time because no one had reported getting sick yet. Thanks, Chobani.
The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it was discussing the matter with the company. New Berlin, N.Y.-based Chobani said that most of the affected product -- about 5 percent of total production -- had already been pulled from shelves.
But, you know, you could have let people know in case they had it in their fridges, Chobani. Which obviously they did, if you go by all the screaming on Chobani's Facebook page.
Chobani CEO Hamid Ulukaya told the AP that it was his call to do the recall, not the FDA's. He said the problem was caused by a type of mold that is common in dairy environments, which became an issue because Chobani doesn't use preservatives. He said the problem has been "totally fixed" but didn't explain its origins.
He also wouldn't say how many reports of illness the company received, only that it wasn't in the hundreds or thousands. "Everybody in the company took this hard," Ulukaya said. "It shook us up."
However, we'd wager that Chobani employees weren't as shaken as the customers who complained online and on the company's Facebook page that the yogurt tasted "unnervingly fizzy" and like "wine" and had "black mystery goo on top." And even: "My Chobani yogurt I have in the fridge at work just exploded."
The recalled containers are marked with the code 16-012 and expiration dates Sept. 11 to Oct. 7. The affected products include a number of different size containers:
-- Chobani 6-ounce cups
-- Chobani 16-ounce tubs
-- Chobani 32-ounce tubs
-- Chobani 3.5-ounce cups
-- Chobani Bite 3.5-ounce cups
-- Chobani Flip 5.3-ounce containers
If you click on the company website, you get a giant photo of Mr. Ulukaya looking very sad and contrite, accompanied by a letter that begins: "I'm sorry we let you down." He instructs customers to discard any suspect yogurt and contact "our Customer Loyalty Team" at chobani.com/care for replacements or refunds.
A typical Facebook response:
"Well guess what Chobani??? It is making people, kids and babies SICK!!! If this is what you call 'taking responsibility' I don't quite know what to think about this company anymore....It's MOLD! And maybe you aren't perfect, no one is asking you to be...however you are a FOOD manufacturer and this is hurting people... I am Beyond disappointed..."
Mr. Ulukaya slowly wipes away a tear.
See also: our Food Recall archive. Maybe bookmark it at this rate.