In a conference call arranged by the company Friday, Chobani named the mold behind last week’s voluntary recall of the yogurt company’s product. The mold Mucor circinelloides is allegedly behind the contamination at Chobani’s Idaho production facility, responsible for less than five percent of the company’s total output. While M. circinelloides is a common cause of fruit, vegetable, and yogurt spoilage, it poses no serious threat to most people. But how did the contamination happen in the first place?
In the conference call Cornell food sciences professor Randy Worobo noted that M. circinelloides “should not pose a health risk to most consumers.” He also noted that the spoilage could only have happened if the yogurt was kept above refrigeration temperatures for up to several days.
Chobani heavily relied on testimony from Worobo to calm public anxiety over the dangers of the contamination. Worobo did not do the test to determine that M. circinelloides was the culprit, instead relying on testing provided to him by Chobani.
“They contracted an independent laboratory for the testing. I only served as an expert for the M. circinelloides and food spoilage,” he tells Runnin’ Scared. He says he has not seen the lab report himself.
Chobani has yet to respond to repeated requests for comment, including a request to produce the lab results that point to M. circinelloides.
Send your story tips to the author, Raillan Brooks.