Yogurt maker Chobani notified stores over the weekend to pull potentially spoiled product from its shelves, but a Costco representative said the company received reports from retailers about tainted product two or three weeks ago.
Craig Wilson is vice president of quality assurance for Costco Wholesale Corp. He told The Times-News that Costco pulled Chobani yogurt manufactured in Twin Falls from its shelves in the San Francisco Bay area and the Northwest region weeks ago and is only accepting yogurt from the company's East Coast plant.
Customers report via the Chobani Facebook page that they are seeing bloated, puffy, fizzy and foamy yogurt containers, and one reported an exploding container. Several people reported that they had become ill after eating the yogurt.
Said one person "I have been sick for a week and a half and couldn't figure out why. After reading the newspaper today, I know why. I still have 2 "puffy" containers in my fridge."
On Tuesday, Chobani said a type of mold common in dairy products may be to blame for the bloated packaging and bad-tasting yogurt.
A message posted on the Chobani Facebook page on Aug. 31 states "There is nothing more important to us than the quality of our products. We're currently in the process of voluntarily removing and replacing some products from store shelves that did not meet our rigid quality standards."
On Wednesday afternoon the Chobani.com website appeared to have crashed.
Chobani spokeswoman Amy Juaristi said the recalled products have the code 16-012 and expiration dates from Sept. 11 to Oct. 7.
The full statement Chobani sent to KTVB TV in Boise Tuesday morning:
Here at Chobani, nothing is more important to us than the quality of our products and the safety and satisfaction of our customers. Recently, we heard of some quality concerns surrounding certain cups, which were experiencing swelling or bloating.
We have been diligently working with our retail partners and have voluntarily and proactively removed and replaced the majority of potentially affected cups with the code 16-012, expiration dates 9/11/2013 - 10/7/ 2013 so as to ensure our consumers are met with only the best experience when enjoying our products.
In order to deliver upon our very rigid quality standards, we are asking consumers who have cups containing these code dates to contact our Customer Loyalty Team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can coordinate replacement products. Please know that we apply the same standards of excellence to our customer service as we do to our products and can assure consumers great care within 24 hours or less.
We are committed to crafting only the best-tasting, highest-quality yogurt made with only natural ingredients, which means all of our products are free of preservatives. As we continue along our journey to provide better options to people everywhere, we thank our fans for their continued support. Without them, Chobani simply wouldn’t be possible.
Second statement received by KTVB late Tuesday:
We investigated the cause of the issue and have identified a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment.
The product in question is less than 5% of our production and is limited to cups produced at our Idaho facility, which accounts for only one third of our production capacity. We have been diligently working with our retail partners and have voluntarily and proactively removed and replaced the vast majority of potentially affected cups with the code 16-012, expiration dates 9/11/2013 - 10/7/ 2013.