Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Whole Foods pulls kombucha tea

with 3 comments

So it begins? Whole Foods—the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods—has pulled all kombucha from its shelves.

Kombucha—for those neither crunchy, Asian, nor in close enough proximity to Brooklyn to have tried it—is a fermented tea. It grows from a giant spore called a “mother,” is slightly alcoholic, tastes a bit like vinegar, and is thought by many to have health benefits that range from increased energy to help with cancer recovery. Personally, I’ve found it delicious, and kind of addicting. The fizz, the yeast, the unusual taste—somehow, against all odds, it turns out to be incredibly refreshing.

Maybe it’s funny that I should call the drink addicting—some think kombucha could be part of the recovery process for alcoholics. By most accounts, the tea usually has an alcohol content of less than 0.5 percent (the limit for beverages not carrying a government warning). But content varies from batch to batch, and the amount of any particular element (lactic acid, gluconic acid, ethyl alcohol, B-vitamins, etc. ) that will end up in a finished batch can be unpredictable.

Last I heard, the FDA and the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau were “looking into” the alcohol content of commercially available kombucha, spurred by state tests showing some brands had more than 2 percent alcohol content. Does Whole Foods know something we don’t?

And, at the risk of sounding like a 1940s reporter signing off: Will the kombucha battles kill the beverage before it even has a chance to become the next Vita Coco? Stay tuned…

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Written by Elizabeth

June 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Posted in Health & Science, News

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. This is an attack by the FDA!! Its not ironic nor a coincidence that Red Bull’s company named Carpe Diem just started displaying their dead liquid kombucha in the same bare spot where GT’s Kombucha and High Country kombucha used to be. The FDA is a criminal institution and they should be tried for murder (via food and prescription drugs).

    kyle

    June 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm

  2. I really liked this tea and did find it at my local organic tea and vegan store as well as Whole Foods. I stopped at both locations today, and they both said, they didn’t have it, no explanation. I wonder what is going on.

    J Lockett

    July 19, 2010 at 7:52 pm

  3. kyle :
    This is an attack by the FDA!! Its not ironic nor a coincidence that Red Bull’s company named Carpe Diem just started displaying their dead liquid kombucha in the same bare spot where GT’s Kombucha and High Country kombucha used to be. The FDA is a criminal institution and they should be tried for murder (via food and prescription drugs).

    If i am not mistaken, carpe diem kombucha has been in the us for the past 3 years already. i love it, tastes way better than the raw kombuchas. I asked the company about the pasteurization process. they said that the fermentation was stopped by a gently heating process, thus preventing the drink from having alcohol in it. it may not have all the health benefit that raw kombucha provides, but it does work on me. It regulates my digestion, and acts as a great boost before going to the gym!

    Caroline

    July 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm


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