Lebanon Reporter

Columns

September 17, 2013

Getting a little culture

There's a commercial on TV where Jamie Lee Curtis turns to the camera and reveals to viewers that she is having an "affair" with Activia Yogurt. This is either a great way to get a yeast infection or an effective way to avoid one. I have no idea which it is. I'm a guy. Recently in the press, the Greek yogurt company Chobani got some really bad coverage when it was revealed their product had some really bad coverage — mold, to be precise. I thought yogurt was already part mold. Or is it bacteria? Fungus, maybe? Don't tell me. I don’t want to know. The founder of the company, Hamdi Ulukaya, perfected the recipe for Chobani based on his belief that everyone, regardless of income or location, deserved access to delicious, high-quality yogurt. Except for the delicious part, he says the same thing about health care. The last yogurt scare in the news was a year ago when a New Jersey firm withdrew salmonella-infected mango yogurt cups from Wawa stores in four states. Like the first moon landing, it was one of those pivotal events — you know exactly where you were when you first heard about it. On Chobani's Facebook page, some yogurt aficionados expressed their dissatisfaction with the product. "Unnervingly fizzy," said one. "Tasted like wine," complained another. "It had a kick to it," opined a third. So I'm thinking, what's the problem here? Many of the postings are snarky, not befitting yogurt fans who should be more cultured. Comments like: "Chobani is not as sweet as most yogurts, but after a while it grows on you. Literally." And, "This is the most unique yogurt ever produced. When they made it, they threw away the mold…well, on second thought…" Ulukaya would not reveal how many complaints they had, but he did say "it was not in the hundreds of thousands." This brilliant PR response was written for Ulukaya by the same guy who told George Bush to say, "Mission accomplished." By the way, Ulukaya is not from Greece, and neither is his yogurt. It's made in upstate New York. Their plant was an old Kraft factory that once made Jalapeño String Cheese, the only product that Kraft ever recalled because it tasted like it was supposed to. One news report quoted Ulukaya saying he would "not give a name to the mold." This is a good idea, because once you call it Jerry or Samantha, it makes mass eradication much harder to feel good about. Ulukaya's biggest concern is the onset of Giaourtiophobia, the technical word for the fear of yogurt. Besides occasional recalls, I have never understood how someone could be afraid of yogurt. Tofu? Very scary. But not yogurt — at least, not plain vanilla. There is some good news in the yogurt world. Dermatologists have determined that slathering the stuff on your face can give you a clear complexion. However, if you use the mixed berry, you will look like you have a bad case of zits. So that's it for all the controversial news in yogurt this week. I didn't mean to alarm you, but I like to stir things up. That's why my favorite yogurt is Dannon Fruit on the Bottom.

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