Following dozens of confirmed illnesses linked to moldy yogurt that was recalled earlier this month, the makers of Chobani Greek Yogurt now face a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of consumers.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Harold J. Green in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Monday, seeking class action status to include all claims for all individuals who ate the recalled yogurt.
A Chobani Greek Yogurt recall was issued on September 5, following a high volume of complaints from consumers who indicated the yogurt was moldy and runny.
This week, the FDA confirmed that at least 89 reports have been received involving consumers becoming ill after eating the recalled Chobani yogurt. Individuals have reported suffering from bloating, swelling and other symptoms of food poisoning.
The mold has not yet officially been identified, but the lawsuit claims that Chobani knows what it is but is not making the information public. According to the complaint, Chobani’s founder and company CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya made a statement that the mold is common in the dairy environment, particularly when the manufacturer uses all-natural ingredients.
“Potentially hundreds, or even thousands, of Chobani consumers are now left in the dark with information that is extremely relevant to the health and safety of not only themselves, but friends, family members, and even children, whom have all consumed mold tainted cups of Yogurt,” the lawsuit states. “Such information is relevant to Plaintiff and the putative class members who may need to know the type of mold they ingested in order to notify their respective treating physicians.”
The Chobani Greek yogurt class action lawsuit seeks to represent anyone who has purchased or consumed the recalled yogurt within the last year. The lawsuit accuses Chobani of breach of warranty and negligence.
Chobani, known formerly as Agro-Farma, has the largest yogurt market share in the United States at 17 percent. That is more than double the yogurt market share of Yoplait, its closest competitor, the lawsuit claims. Half of all Greek yogurt sold in the U.S. is manufactured by Chobani, which pulled in about $1 billion in gross sales last year.
The company was hit earlier this summer with another class action lawsuit that claimed it was mislabeling its products by calling them all natural. However, a federal judge all-but dismissed that lawsuit for a number of reasons, effectively killing it.