Good Buzz marketed its “live cultured soda” as containing “millions of gut lovin’ probiotics”. There is usually a difference between store-bought kombucha and home-brewed kombucha. In the U.S., there have been several lawsuits over the lack of clarity in product labelling. Shortly after, the company ceased trading. Manufacturers [must] follow the Food Standards Code, which states a beverage containing 0.5% or more alcohol must inform consumers of the amount. More sugar gets converted to alcohol, so the alcohol by volume, or ABV, content rises. MPI enforces the code and can order any noncompliant company to change its labelling or take it to court, where it could face a maximum fine of $100,000. "At the end of the day, the message isn't that kombucha isn't safe. There’s no standard for testing kombucha, so we used an alcohol test performed under International Accreditation New Zealand accreditation, and used by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) when it investigated reports of high alcohol levels in fermented tea. Home-brewed kombucha tends to have higher alcohol content than store-bought. If there is a large imbalance of yeasts over bacteria then there wont be enough bacteria to consume the alcohol that is being produced. This combo is left to ferment, during which alcohol, vinegar and other compounds are created. Send her an email at, Audience Relations, CBC P.O. In 2017, the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets examined 21 kombucha samples. These results recorded alcohol of between 0.0% and 0.3%. Kombucha beverages may contain residual, low levels of alcohol from the multi-step fermentation process that converts sugar to alcohol (ethanol) and alcohol to acetic acid (vinegar). This site uses cookies to help us understand how visitors engage with our website. Global sales of the beverage hit almost $1 billion US in 2018, according to analytics company Adroit Market Research, and projections suggest sales will hit $6.2 billion US by 2026, according to Acumen Research and Consulting. A small amount of kombucha each day – one study suggests about 120ml – is unlikely to put you at risk. In our lab results, the two Good Buzz samples recorded between 1.2% and 1.5% alcohol, well over the 0.5% listed on the label. Lo Bros said it was “always open to reviewing our labelling to meet the growing demand for information from our customers”. You might reach for a bottle of kombucha. It's that some kombucha has elevated ethanol levels and that could be a public safety concern," she said. Some commercial kombucha brewers have struggled to comply with alcohol laws. But fermentation can continue after the beverage is bottled and shipped, depending on how much yeast and sugar is in it, and how it's stored. Also, in a lot of retail spaces it's not a closed fridge, it's an open cabinet type of a refrigeration unit, where you can grab without opening the door, the temperature is not as controlled as a closed fridge situation," said Brown, who is also the director of BCIT's Natural Health and Food Products Research Group. Visit As a result, kombucha tea does contain small amounts of alcohol. to learn how to enable JavaScript for your browser. Consumer NZ is non-profit. Both samples we sent to the lab recorded at least 3% alcohol. It's a little sweet, a little sour and, as it turns out, sometimes a bit too boozy. Kombucha with an alcohol content of 0.5% or higher is considered “over 21 kombucha.” Why do I get carded when I buy certain brands of kombucha?

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