Piled wall to wall in mini-fridges across campus, from mango to pomegranate, everyone can agree that Boston College runs on Chobani’s low-fat Greek goodness.
On Thursday, Sept. 5, when Chobani announced a recall of yogurt contaminated by dairy mold after several complaints from nauseous customers, many BC students sadly tossed away their favorite protein-packed dairy product.
The contaminated yogurt was coded 16-012 and was tainted with a form of dairy mold derived from Chobani’s naturally occurring cultures and probiotics which is known to cause cramps and nausea. Chobani executives have explained the mold is very difficult to eradicate, and merely one missed spore could have caused the entire recall. All affected products have been pulled from shelves and nearly completely eliminated.
The Chobani recall, however, is not the first health food scandal to disrupt the Boston College community’s highly nutritious diet.
Once advertised as “only the freshest, purest stuff in the world,” Naked Juice, a popular line of fruit smoothies, has lost nearly $9 million in customer rebates after a lawsuit investigated their claims of being an “all natural, GMO free” product.
PepsiCo, Naked Juice’s parent company, has repudiated these claims, but has surreptitiously removed the word “natural” from the label of Naked Juice products. PepsiCo’s lawsuit settlement entitles anyone with a receipt for one of these products to be refunded for up to $75, and anyone without proof of purchase up to $45 .
In a public statement via Facebook, PepsiCo insisted that while the ingredients such as fruits and vegetables in their smoothies are natural, added nutritional boots are derived from synthetic ingredients.
Although the coolers in BC dining halls are lined with Odwalla fruit smoothies instead of Naked Juice, it does draw into question how strictly FDA food guidelines are being upheld, particularly within the increasingly popular health food industry.
Consumers tend to instinctively trust in the health value of these foods because they are used to seeing USDA Organic stickers or dancing pieces of fruit on a commercial insisting that this smoothie, or this yogurt, is healthier.
For BC students concerned about the absurd amount of mozzarella sticks they may inhale at Late Night, there is something comforting in seeing “All Natural” or “Organic” on labels in the dining hall. Promises of these natural products make students feel more health conscious, more self-aware and less guilty.
It is unnerving to see recalls and false advertising scandals for companies such as Chobani and Naked Juice, especially when consumers have come to feel confident in their health-related promises. The reality is, however, that the very same food that is marketed to make people feel health conscious is actually making people sick.
Featured image via Flickr.