Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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TTB issues statement on kombucha

with one comment

I guess it’s non-stop kombucha-blogging here this week. Apologies, but I’ve been trying to research the issue this week and things keep changing so quickly. This morning, I spoke with a man at the Alcohol Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB), whom I’d heard was heading up the federal kombucha investigation. He said he wasn’t really at liberty to speak about the issue yet, but that it was something the department was looking into, and there would be some sort of statement from the TTB within a few days. Then he called me back this afternoon to let me know that the statement had just been posted on the TTB’s website.

It’s certainly intended as a warning for kombucha producers to get their acts together:

TTB has been advised that a major chain of grocery stores has removed a number of kombucha products from its shelves because of concerns about elevated alcohol content levels.  The distribution of an alcohol beverage product that is not labeled as such misleads consumers and could cause potentially serious consequences for consumers, especially pregnant women, children, and individuals who should avoid alcohol for medical reasons.  Accordingly, TTB encourages producers and distributors of kombucha products that are alcohol beverages to take immediate steps to ensure that their products comply with applicable Federal, State, and local laws regarding alcohol beverages.

As a result of the inquiries received on this issue, TTB is coordinating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that kombucha products that are currently on the market comply with Federal laws.  Right now, our primary concern is to ensure that consumers are not  misled about the nature of alcohol beverage products that might be marketed as non-alcohol beverages.  At this point in time, we do not know how extensive the problem is.

TTB plans to take samples of kombucha products from the marketplace and test their alcohol content in order to determine if the products are labeled in compliance with Federal law.  If TTB finds alcohol beverages that are not labeled in accordance with Federal law, we will take appropriate steps to bring them into compliance.  TTB will consult with FDA to ensure that the affected products comply with applicable Federal laws.  If the testing results from this labeling initiative indicate potential violations of the IRC, they will be referred to the appropriate office within TTB for further investigation, as necessary.

I’ll reserve comment for now.

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Written by Elizabeth

June 23, 2010 at 4:16 am

Posted in Health & Science, News

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. […] bid to protect consumers from kombucha tea. Since at least 2010, government officials have been concerned that the fermented beverage could contain more alcohol than legally allowed for something not regulated by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau […]


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