USDA: School lunch pilot program unaffected by Chobani recall

By Aarian Marshall

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2013 - The Food and Drug Administration announced today that Greek yogurt maker Chobani is voluntarily recalling some of its product after customers complained of illness and mold. The recall comes just weeks after USDA selected the company to supply Greek yogurt to four states' school lunch programs as part of a pilot. 

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USDA says, however, that the pilot program has not been affected. The first shipments of yogurt will not reach schools until the second half of September, and the department says it is working with Chobani to ensure that the Greek yogurt given to students participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is safe.

Chobani won the contract with the agriculture department in late July after a competitive bid process.

USDA will conclude its Greek yogurt pilot program in New York, Idaho, Arizona and Tennessee in December 2013. Then the department will determine whether to add the meat-free protein source to the national program.

Meanwhile, FDA says it now “working with [Chobani] to facilitate the removal of the affected products from the marketplace,” according to Tamara Ward, an agency spokesman.

The yogurt maker began pulling product off the shelves on Saturday, Aug. 31, according to a notice posted on the company's website. A Sept. 3 update notes that Chobani had identified a “type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment,” but said the mold only affected less than 5% of production and was limited to those products produced at a facility in Idaho.

The voluntary recall notice, however, was not sent out until this morning. It involves Chobani products with code 16-012, expiration dates 9/11/2013 to 10/7/2013.

Chobani asks affected or concerned consumers to contact their Customer Loyalty Team at chobani.com/care.

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