Co Yo is one of those yogurt brands that has the right mix of everything: an on-trend ingredient (coconut), chic branding, suitability for vegans and people with dairy allergies — or just those who are avoiding dairy for health reasons — and celebrity endorsements from such stars as Nigella Lawson, who featured the brand in one of her cookbooks.
Co Yo is being recalled in the United Kingdom after trace amounts of dairy were found in the yogurt, distressing vegans and customers with dairy allergies. The company posted a statement on Twitter, saying they were “devastated” by the revelation because “being dairy-free sits at the heart of everything we do.” The company has terminated its relationship with the supplier at fault, and is working to get all of the contaminated yogurt off grocery store shelves.
Americans don’t need to worry, said Chuck Waghorne, managing director of Eat Co Yo U.S. The recall is limited to the United Kingdom.
“One of the manufacturers in the U.K. failed to report an allergen contaminant,” said Waghorne. “We, upon learning that had happened, submitted all of our ingredients to an independent lab for testing, and they came back negative.”
A vegan diet can be full of minefields. Adherents to the diet — either for ethical or health reasons — have to trust chefs and food producers to do the right thing. A British chef made headlines last month for posting on social media that she “spiked” a vegan’s food with animal products, inviting a furor (the chef’s fiance later said that the self-identified vegan had declined a special vegan menu and ordered a cheese pizza). There’s a subgenre of YouTube prank videos where people try to convince their vegan friends that they’ve intentionally fed them real meat, which often makes them feel sick.
But the Co Yo problem is bigger, because the brand is also favored by people who have dairy allergies, who could become seriously ill. There have not been any reports of illness yet. The U.K.’s Food Standards Agency encouraged people with dairy allergies to return the yogurt to stores for a full refund.
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