Kombucha Recall Madness – The Real Story

This post is cross published at

As long as humans have roamed the earth, they have turned to Mother Nature to improve their health. Kombucha is an ancient folk remedy that is enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity. Purportedly discovered during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) in China, 21st century peeps are reclaiming this sweet and sour tonic to aid in the digestion of our over-processed diet and to boost immunity in our increasingly toxic world.

A drawing of Emperor Qin, whose dynasty reigned around the time Kombucha is said to have been discovered, 221 BC.
Qin Shi Huang Di

So, what’s the dealio with the recall? In short, some Kombucha brands are testing at higher than permitted levels of alcohol to be legally considered a non-alcoholic beverage. All beverages that contain sugar ferment, including sodas and fruit juice. Since most of the time the fermentation results in less than 0.5% alcohol by volume – the legal limit set by the FDA for non-alcoholic beverages – it isn’t required to be listed on the label.

Yet again, those who want you to be sick or addicted to their synthetic pills are pushing their fearful message to scare uninformed people away from discovering a path out of their illness and off the drugs.

A collection of pharmaceuticals and pill bottles emphasizes the ridiculous nature of the industry.
How many pills until I'm "better?"

A bit of simple Kombucha science to further understand the recall: Kombucha is a symbiotic, near-lichen comprised of yeast and bacteria that work together in symbiosis. They build a cellulose structure (zooglea = living skin), kind of like a condo but they live on separate floors. The fermentation process is 2-fold: first, the yeast consume the sugar and excrete alcohol; then, the bacteria consume the alcohol and excrete healthy B-vitamins and amino acids.

Under normal brewing conditions, the resultant level of alcohol is below 0.5%. However, this changes when you introduce flavorings, such as fruit or ginger; the naturally occurring sugars in the flavorings reactivate the yeast, creating more alcohol.

A bottle and glass of Kombucha set on either side of a currently brewing jar of Kombucha with a SCOBY inside.

It is this secondary fermentation that has caused the voluntary recall, and a great many brands of Kombucha are already back on the shelf (some never even came off) as they have found various solutions to the issue that satisfy the alcohol limits. Nearly all brands will be back and expect even more new brands to attempt to fill the temporary shortages, though if you get a kombucha kit and brew at home, you are never without a 100% organic, raw, fresh supply of your very own. And it is SUPER easy to make Kombucha safely at home.

IMHO, Kombucha is intended to be taken as a medicinal elixir rather than as a replacement for water. In fact, you should increase the amount of water consumed when drinking Kombucha because the natural detoxification process requires it to flush the toxins from the system. Those who are accustomed to drinking Kombucha on a regular basis can handle larger amounts.

Humans have survived for thousands of years by learning to trust their instincts. We have lost our confidence, lost our direction amid a constant bombardment of misinformation, amid the artificially constructed world built around supply rather than demand. But if you start asking your instincts to guide you, it is amazing how quickly they return. Kombucha is one of nature’s many gifts that help support our heath on this exciting and challenging journey. Try it for yourself and see if it has a positive effect for you!

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Responses to Kombucha Recall Madness – The Real Story

  1. After I picked up a scoby from a local establishment and plugged it into a sun tea jar feeder. I got to thinking I should feed my sourdough starter. Last time I checked on my sourdough(2weeks) It had crusted on the outside and was taking on the appearance of a cracked walnut. At that time, I generously added some spring water and stirred it around until it was a batter. So as I said, I went to feed it and noticed something quite peculiar. There was a grey pellicle on the surface of the batter? Research papers I had been reading suggested that I may have stumbled upon my own self made scoby! All the elements were there! I brewed some extra KT feeder and tossed the pellicle in a seperate jar, out of curiosity.
    A thick daughter pellicle formed of a bright cream Scoby, while the purchased scoby was struggling with brown yeast sediment and leuconostoc slimes.

    What's cheaper than buying scoby, GT or MailOrder Scoby? Make it yourself! The way of a true artisan. It was still good to have one for comparison.

  2. Wow! That sounds pretty wild – good on you for trusting your instincts.

    How many batches of Kombucha have you made with your new pellicle? (love that word BTW)

    Though I suspect most souls will not be so brave as to attempt to grow their SCOBY from a sourdough culture. (Not me, in any case) I have heard of cultures being formulated in a lab through natural processes whereby the specific yeasts and bacteria are brought together and they do form a SCOBY – neato!

    Happy Brewin!

  3. Last Oct. 2014 my son gave me a starter scoby and I kept it on my kitchen counter for 4 mts. I was skeptical about trying it. I suffer from acid reflux and pins and needles on both feet. Finally had enough of rolaids and other antiacid remedies, I took a 1/4 glass of kombucha, No more acid reflux and the pins and needles pains subsided! Happy happy!

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