09 July 2014

Recalled yogurt tied to fungus infections

A certain fungus strain can cause infection in healthy people, not just those with immune system problems.


A fungus that triggered a yogurt recall last year poses a health risk to all consumers, according to a new study published in the online journal mBio.

In September 2013, there were reports of illness among people who ate Chobani brand Greek yogurt, and the company issued a recall. The yogurt was found to be contaminated with a fungus called Murcor circinelloides.

Read: Low-fat yogurt in pregnancy linked to child asthma, hay fever

"When people think about food-borne pathogens [germs], normally they list bacteria, viruses, and maybe parasites. Fungal pathogens are not considered as food-borne pathogens," Soo Chan Lee, of Duke University, said in a news release from the American Society for Microbiology.

"However, this incidence indicates that we need to pay more attention to fungi. Fungal pathogens can threaten our health systems as food-borne pathogens," Lee added.

At the time, it was believed that the fungus was only a health threat to people with weakened immune systems. However, there were many complaints about gastrointestinal illness from otherwise healthy people, prompting researchers to take a closer look at the fungus in the yogurt.

The investigators found that the strain of M. circinelloides that caused the outbreak of illness was one commonly associated with infections in people. The researchers tested the strain on mice and found that it could cause deadly infections in the rodents.

Read more:

Probiotic yoghurts affect your gut
Probiotic health claims false
Dairy products won't make you skinny

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