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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Chobani Mold, Mucor circinelloides, Not a Risk to “Most Consumers”

I am sure that is true, but the way Chobani has dribbled out information over the past week, does understandably raise red flags for consumers.

According to the AP, yogurt maker Chobani said Friday that the mold that triggered a recall of some of its Greek yogurt cups this week is Mucor circinelloides, a common species that usually affects fruits, vegetables and other plants. It has also been linked to previous cases of spoiled yogurt.

Cornell University Professor Randy Worobo said on a conference call arranged by Chobani that the mold “should not pose a health risk to most consumers.”

According to the website Dr. Fungus – yes, such a website exists – Mucor spp. is a filamentous fungus found in soil, plants, decaying fruits and vegetables. As well as being ubiquitous in nature and a common laboratory contaminant, Mucor spp. may cause infections in man, frogs, amphibians, cattle, and swine. Most of the Mucor spp. are unable to grow at 37°C and the strains isolated from human infections are usually one of the few thermotolerant Mucor spp.

Also, according to the website, Mucor spp. are among the fungi causing the group of infections referred to as zygomycosis. Although the term mucormycosis has often been used for this syndrome, zygomycosis is now the preferred term for this angio-invasive disease. Zygomycosis includes mucocutaneous and rhinocerebral infections, as well as septic arthritis, dialysis-associated peritonitis, renal infections, gastritis and pulmonary infections. Diabetic ketoacidosis and immunosuppression are the most frequent predisposing factors. Desferoxamine treatment, renal failure, extensive burns, and intravenous drug use may also predispose to development of zygomycosis. Vascular invasion that causes necrosis of the infected tissue, and perineural invasion are the most frustrating features of these infections.

So, it appears that the risk is to those with compromised immunities.