Monday, July 1, 2013


Actually, it's true. Your tea can die from drinking tea - not because you drink too much of it, or because it is particularly unhealthy, but because it is contaminated.

We were reminded of that this week when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a recall by Harmony Chai of Eastsound, WA of their Concentrated Black Spiced Chai and Decaffeinated Roobios Chai. Both come in bottles. The tea is made with sugar and spices, many of them from India and sounds delicious. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) discovered while testing the teas, that they had not been properly processed as required. This was accidental - not conscious cheating on safety. The company is trying to find out how it happened.

Unfortunately, such improperly processed tea beverages can be contaminated with the deadly bacterium, Clostridium Botulinum. If you ingest enough of this bacterium it can make you critically ill or even lead to death. (In the old days, it used to turn up a lot in badly done canning).

So how do you know if your tea can harm you? You can't tell that it is bad from either the taste or the smell. But if you suddenly find you have trouble with speaking or swallowing (and it's not nervousness) you may want to make sure you don't have the other symptoms of botulism. These often include double-vision, general weakness and dizziness. You may also have difficulty in breathing, weakness of muscles, abdominal distension and constipation (not because you didn't eat enough fiber).

By the way, concentrated Black Spiced Chai and Decaffeinated Rooibos Chai were distributed through farmers markets, grocery stores and cafes in Western Washington. They are also sold through the internet. If you live in that area, or know someone who lives there, or someone who drinks this tea, let them know.

To your good health,



Kevin Walls said...

I’ve always found that drinking these pre-processed teas are unhealthy, even before this incident occurred. I guess I just don’t like the fact that it’s pre-sweetened, which kind of defeats the purpose of drinking tea for me. Nowadays, they’re sprouting up like soda replacements, and like their old counterparts, people are drinking it to excess. And as with anything we eat that’s fatty and sugary, excess consumption is a bad idea.

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