Sad when a good local food goes bad - literally. And it's sad, because this started out as one of our local foods here in upstate New York. We are in dairy country and - well, let the Chobani Yogurt website explain it:
"....our Founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, stumbled upon a classified ad for a
yogurt plant recently closed down by Kraft. After initially throwing
the ad away, Hamdi listened to his gut, fished it out of the trash and
went to see it that day. He decided to buy the plant on the spot, and
went to work on perfecting the recipe for Chobani ... The first cup... hit shelves
18 months later and has since grown to become America’s #1 yogurt."
Chobani makes Greek style yogurt, with active cultures, with rBST free milk, and without preservatives. I love Chobani yogurt, especially the blood orange flavor, and I always felt I was supporting my community by purchasing it. But now, something has gone wrong.
And, ironically, it wasn't in the original New York State plant, but in a new plant located in Idaho.
While I was on vacation the last week of August and the first week of September, I started seeing some Facebook posts about friends finding bulging containers of Chobani in their fridges, and something about a recall.
When I returned to this area, I found out that someone I know claims to have become sick from eating Chobani. She ate only a couple of spoonfuls, because it tasted so awful. Right now, I think the official count is 118 reports of people becoming sick, but I'm wondering if this number is underreported.
Anyway, as soon as I could, I went into my fridge, and this is what I found.
If I hadn't been on vacation I probably would have tried to eat these by now and gotten a spoonful of horrible tasting yogurt in my mouth. Thank heavens for vacations.
The aftermath of the recall is part 2 to this tale. People I know who emailed Chobani using the instructions on the FDA website have gotten no response.
Hamdi, the founder, has personally apologized on the website for this incident, and that touched me. I believe the apology is genuine. This is a perishable product, and I am grateful no one was (apparently) seriously injured.
The one person I know who called rather than used the website form was told to take the container to her supermarket for a refund, which is not what the Chobani website told us to do. And, I reported my containers nearly a week ago, and have received no response, either. I know Chobani has its corporate hands full, and we're talking about a retail value of about $2.00, so I will be patient. And yes, if I am given coupons, I will use them.
Strangely, one person I know hadn't even heard of the recall until the supermarket she purchased it at contacted HER. She had used one of the store loyalty cards when she purchased it, and it was on their records. Kudos, store in question, for this action.
It's never good when local food goes bad. I'm hopeful that Chobani will weather this succesfully.
However, I am going to be checking their codes from now on, and purchasing only the lots made in New York State. A bit unnecessary, perhaps, but I was disappointed to find that some of my "local food" was being made nearly 2,500 miles from us.
Have you ever been involved (as a consumer or corporately) in a food recall?