Thursday, July 17, 2014

Study: Fungus That Caused Chobani Recall More Dangerous Than First Reported

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 10:17 AM

A fungus that triggered a voluntary recall of yogurt produced at Chobani's Twin Falls facility was more dangerous than first thought, Boise State Public Radio reports.

Mucor circinelloides is a fungus found in many fruits and dairy products that gives dairy, fruits and vegetables a fizzy feeling in the mouth. It also caused nearly 200 people to fall ill in 2013 after eating tainted Chobani yogurt, suffering from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. 

According to a study conducted by Duke University, the fungus is a greater threat to public health than previously thought, since less focus has been placed on fungi than on viruses or bacteria, despite the fact that like other food-borne pathogens, fungus has the same virulence as other, more widely studied pathogens. 

"Compared to other food-borne pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and parasites, less focus has been placed on the risk of fungal pathogens, wrote Soo Chan Lee, R. Blake Billmyre, Alicia Li, et al. in the study, which also concluded that the fungus is particularly harmful to those with compromised immune systems. 

The findings contradict Chobani's statements about the recall.

"To our knowledge, there is no evidence, including the assertions presented in this publication, that the strain in the recalled products causes illness in consumers when ingested," Chobani Vice President of Global Quality Dr. Alejandro Mazzotta said in a statement. Chobani has made "significant investments in technology and personnel to improve food safety procedures," officials told NBC News

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