According to an email to customers from Stonyfield CEO Esteve Torrens, the possibly affected products have the UPC 052159701161 and a code date of June 5 2014. The products hit stores for only a brief time. They could have been purchased on or after April 23, 2014, at Target stores in Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida as well as Walmart stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.
According to Torrens, "At the time of the recall, we had not received any complaints of illness or any other concerns from our customers or consumers, and very few products made it to store shelves. We chose to call back the product as a precautionary step."
Stonyfield advises that customers who purchased any of these products return any open or unopened containers to the store for a refund. The recall doesn't affect any other Stonyfield products. Torrens' message indicates that the products may have been contaminated with some type of coliform, and the company plans to communicate further information on their Web site as it becomes available.
The company is still awaiting test results to find out more about the type of coliform possibly involved. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines coliforms as bacteria that live in the intestines of warm-blooded animals such as humans, pets and farm animals. Though the coliforms themselves don't generally cause harm to humans, they may indicate the presence of other disease-causing bacteria that are harder to find through testing.
The EPA lists animal feedlots as one possible area where coliform contamination can occur. Other common sources include floodwaters after heavy rains, leaky septic tanks and malfunctioning sewer systems.
"As a father of young kids," Torrens says, "I understand how upsetting an issue like this can be. And I want to assure you personally that as soon as the problem was identified, we took action." The U.S. government's Food Safety and Inspection Service lists no previous recalls of Stonyfield products.