NOW DRINKING: Honey Rose (made using raw honey & rosewater)
Hello Kombucha Lovers and curious newbies!! Kombucha has been bubbling up in the collective consciousness and now it has overflowed into the mainstream media. The concern about the amount of alcohol in Kombucha has triggered the Whole Foods voluntary recall .
“Beverages such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and certain other flavored beverages which are traditionally perceived by consumers to be “non-alcoholic” could actually contain traces of alcohol (less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume) derived from the use of flavoring extracts or from natural fermentation. FDA also considers beverages containing such trace amounts of alcohol to be “non-alcoholic.” (from the FDA Compliance Policy Guidance Manual)
As it turns out, there is a bit more hooch in the booch than previously thought.
High on Life (Pro-biotics)
At my Kombucha Kamps, or when people order Kombucha Kits from me) when I ask the participants about their personal experience with Kombucha, several have commented that it makes them feel high or gives them a buzz. I’ve experienced it myself but it always quickly faded (darn! 😉 Part of the reason I don’t get buzzed, is that I drink it medicinally – that is, a little at a time (4-8oz) with a lot of water to flush the toxins. Kombucha is not a substitute for water and as such ought to be respected as a powerful detoxifier that can create adverse reactions when over consumed.
In light of the current situation, I will be getting my own Kombucha tested to see how much alcohol mine contains.
Liability or Who Do I Sue?
Homebrewers have enjoyed the taste and health benefits of Kombucha for over 2000 years. So what’s the fuss? It’s the law!
*Beverages must contain less than .5% alcohol by volume to sell to minors
*Alcohol content must be accurately labeled
*People who drink alcohol are going to hell!!**
**Ok,that last one isn’t true. Or if it is, I’ll see you there 🙂
This concern over how much alcohol bottled Kombucha tea contains has been whispered about for a few months now.
Michaela Biaggi, one of the owners of LonjeviTea Kombucha, told me, “in order to be proactive rather than reactive and as a committment to our ethics, we (LonjeviTea Kombucha) voluntarily pulled our product from stores” almost 2 weeks before Whole Foods decided to remove all bottled Kombucha from their shelves.
My speculation about the situation is that Whole Foods is trying to handle the problem without getting the FDA involved. OR perhaps the FDA is involved, but is allowing Whole Foods to resolve the issue themselves. Either way, I am confident that Kombucha will be able to weather this tempest in a (fermented!) teapot and come back better than ever.
Adam Goodman of Kombucha Botanica, told me that they will have a “reformulated product on the shelves by September.” Other commercial brewers are also working to quickly bring their Kombucha into compliance with the FDA standards.
In the meantime, if you got to get your booch, give homebrewing a try!
I welcome all questions and comments. Happy Brewin!