September 12, 2013 — Chobani, the popular manufacturer of Greek yogurt, was hit with a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Plaintiffs in the Chobani class action lawsuit allege that the company sold moldy, contaminated Greek yogurt that was “defective and unsafe.”
The class action was filed by Harold J. Green, who allegedly purchased dozens of Chobani yogurt products that were consumed by his family in the month prior to to the recall on September 5. He alleges:
“Due to the negligent manufacturing of its Greek yogurt, manufactured and distributed to the public products which left Defendant’s manufacturing facilities containing a defect that poses a health threat to the public .”
The class action seeks only damages for economic injury, and it not intended to seek damages for personal injury claims, such as food poisoning. However, these claims may be modified as more facts are revealed. Green cited the U.S. Department of Agriculture, saying some molds cause allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and a few molds can produce poisonous mycotoxins.
Food Poisoning from Moldy Chobani Greek Yogurt Recall
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received at least 89 reports of food poisoning (nausea, abdominal cramps) in people who consumed recalled yogurt, Chobani has aggressively maintained that food poisoning is unlikely to occur from eating the product.
When the Chobani class action lawsuit was filed, Chobani had not yet named the type of mold implicated in the recall. The lawsuit stated:
“Potentially hundreds, or even thousands, of Chobani customers are now left in the dark with information that is extremely relevant to the health and safety of not only themselves, but friends, family members, and even children.”
Chobani has since identified the mold as Mucor circinelloides, which is known to grow on industrial stirred-tank fermenters, which are used to make cheese and yogurt. It is not known to cause foodborne illness, but can cause infections in immunocompromised individuals who breathe the mold.
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