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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

When is a recall not a recall – Chobani?

A few days ago I got this tweet:

Went to @gelsonsmarkets tonight and they had sign up saying some flavors of @Chobani were recalled. What gives?

I also got this email this morning:

It looks like a voluntary recall (retailers are pulling product off shelves at Chobani’s request), but Chobani has not announced a recall or proactively alerted consumers.  I stumbled on the issue yesterday when I found that 10 recently purchased containers were spoiled, fermented, bloated and bubbling – and many were punctured.  (I have a few photos, and a sealed bag full of Chobani product sitting in our trashcan).  Chobani customer service was closed for the weekend; I then called our Safeway store in Oakland, CA, where we purchased it; they told me they had been instructed by Chobani that morning to pull all product.  (We bought it on Aug. 24th.)

I also got emailed a link to John Sowell’s article in the Idaho Statesman.  Sowell found:

A spot check of Albertson’s, Fred Meyer and Winco stores in Boise on Saturday revealed those retailers have removed cups of Chobani yogurt from their refrigerator cases. Employees said they were removed over the past few days.

Chobani says the removal of its yogurt from retail stores does not involve a food safety problem. In a blog entry posted Saturday on the company’s website, Chobani says it discovered a problem that causes its yogurt “to go bad before its time.”

No listing for Chobani products was found on the FoodSafety.gov recall website operated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The website lists recalls and alerts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Sowell was also “was unable to reach Chobani officials Saturday evening … calls … went unanswered. A recording listed business hours between Monday and Friday … A national Customer Loyalty Team phone number also went unanswered. An email sent Saturday evening to Chobani’s media representative was not immediately returned.”

Hmm, not that transparent?

A Chobani blog seems to be busy with customer complaints – LINK.  But, I did not see much in the way of explanation for the product removal on Chobani’s twitter – @Chobani or its Facebook page.  According to Sowell “[t]he product removal was evidently prompted by customer complaints, according to the blog.”

“When we heard quality concerns surrounding certain cups, we thoroughly investigated and proactively decided to replace product on shelves across the country. We were able to isolate the issue and determine it is one of quality, causing product to go bad before its time, not one of food safety.”

The company said it was working to replace the yogurt cups pulled from the stores.

Hmm, not a recall?