Chobani says mold in yogurt does not carry disease

WASHINGTON — Yogurt maker Chobani said Friday that the mold that triggered a recall of some of its Greek yogurt cups this week is not associated with foodborne illnesses like salmonella or E. coli.

The company identified the mold as Mucor circinelloides, a common species that usually affects fruits, vegetables and other plants. It has also been linked to previous cases of spoiled yogurt.

Cornell University Professor Randy Worobo said on a conference call arranged by Chobani that the mold "should not pose a health risk to most consumers." Worobo is a professor of food science at the university's college of agriculture.

Worobo did not test or identify the mold, but agreed to speak as a food safety expert, according to a media spokesman for Cornell University. The university spokeman said he was not paid and has no financial ties to the company.

Worobo said plants typically absorb the mold from surrounding soil, though it can also be found in processing plants. It can grow on yogurt only when it is kept above refrigeration levels.

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