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September 4, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Chobani issues ‘voluntary recall’ for some of its yogurt

   Chonabi has pulled its Greek yogurt off shelves after complaints that some cups had contained spoiled product. (Nancy Leson)

Chonabi has pulled its Greek yogurt off shelves after complaints that some cups had contained spoiled product. (Nancy Leson)

Chobani reportedly is pulling some of its Greek yogurt off shelves after complaints that some containers spoiled prematurely.

The Associated Press reports that an internal Chobani investigation found a type of mold commonly found in dairy that may be to blame for the spoiled yogurt. Cups labeled with the lot code “16-012″ on the lid are being voluntarily recalled by the company.

The expiration date on Megan Miller’s yogurt wasn’t until late September, but there it was, leaking through a bloated lid.

Several of her friends said they also found their yogurt spoiled and thought it might be their refrigerators malfunctioning. But she knew better. A reporter friend had told her Chobani was quietly pulling some yogurt off store shelves.

Miller, 29, a Renton resident, got “hooked on” the yogurt four months ago, and had been buying it weekly as a healthy snack for her 15-month-old son, Peter.

She went to the company’s Facebook page, where she read comments from other customers complaining about the same thing: a bulging lid with frothy, spoiled yogurt underneath.

She told her friends — one of whom had a 15-month-old experiencing gastrointestinal problems she thinks are linked to yogurt — about it. However, Keith Dailey, a representative for Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional supermarket operator, said in an email to the AP that although Chobani issued a product withdrawal Friday, the affected yogurt “was not a food safety issue.”

A Chobani spokeswoman had not responded to calls by Wednesday evening.

Miller said she thinks Chobani’s “voluntary recall,” which a company statement says has “removed and replaced the majority of potentially affected cups,” was “reactionary,” and “just PR, instead of being worried about their product.”

She read comments on Chobani’s Facebook page from customers who claim to have reported the bad yogurt weeks ago. A full recall and a warning to customers as soon as the company heard there was a problem would have been a better solution, she said.

“It’s really unfortunate,” she said. “I feel like my trust has been violated … to find out they were aware of this issue.”

Over the weekend, a Shoreline woman said, she opened up a bulging Chobani cup with pomegranate fruit to hear a loud whoosh. Some of the yogurt flew out, splattering her face, kitchen counter and floor. She had purchased that cup and a half-dozen others the previous week at a Fred Meyer. They matched the code and date the company cited.

In the dairy aisle in a Seattle PCC grocery, a small orange sign stands out among the rows of yogurt, offering PCC customers a full refund on the spoiled yogurt.

Or, Chobani customers who purchased yogurt with the lot code “16-012″ can contact the company at care@chobani.com for replacement.

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