Chobani mold which caused the recall of the greek yogurt is not harmless.


Last year the Greek yogurt manufacturer, Chobani, recalled its yogurt due to mold contamination.

A new study has emerged which cites that the mold causing the recall is pathogenic and not harmless. The strain has the ability to cause disease. The research was published in the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The study was initiated due to consumer complaints of severe gastrointestinal (GI) comfort. “When he heard about the Chobani recall after reports of people becoming sick from yogurt contaminated with Mucor circinelloides, we thought the M. circinelloides strain could cause more serious problems than one might think,” said Soo Chan Lee of Duke University, an author on the study.

The researchers isolated the strain of the fungus from a yogurt container that was one of the recalled batches of yogurts. The strain identified was Mucor circinelloides f. circinelloides (Mcc). Unlike other strains of the fungus, that particular subspecies is commonly associated with human infections. Sequence comparison of the fungus isolated from the Yogurt confirmed its relation to the Mcc strain and the possibility that this fungus could produce harmful metabolites that were previously unknown in this species. The researchers then tested the strain on mice, where the fungus showed an ability to cause lethal infections when the fungal spores were injected into the bloodstream as well as to survive passage through the GI tract when the spores were ingested orally.

“When people think about food-borne pathogens, normally they list bacteria, viruses, and maybe parasites. Fungal pathogens are not considered as food-borne pathogens. However, this incidence indicates that we need to pay more attention to fungi. Fungal pathogens can threaten our health systems as food-borne pathogens” said Lee.

Consumers are advised to take recalls seriously.


Soo Chan Lee et al. Analysis of a Food-Borne Fungal Pathogen Outbreak: Virulence and Genome of a Mucor circinelloides Isolate from Yogurt. mBio, July 2014 DOI: 10.1128/mBio.01390-14

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