Give Me My Kombucha Back

By Lori Preuitt
|  Saturday, Jun 19, 2010  |  Updated 8:42 AM PDT
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That scream you heard walking by your local Whole Foods store probably came from someone who just realized they were not going to get their Friday fermentation fix.

If you haven't heard yet, the pro-biotic drink Kombucha is no longer available.

Whole Foods across the state and across the country pulled a California-made product, which is also called Synergy, from shelves and that is sure to upset health food and yoga types. 

Signs are up that explain it is a labeling issue, not a quality issue.

Whole foods said testing showed the drink might have a higher alcohol content than the law allows.  It isn't supposed to have any alcohol in it at all, but apparently, tests showed slightly elevated alcohol levels.

Fermented products can produce alcohol as they sit on the shelf. Pasteurizing it would do the trick, but that would kill the whole point of drinking kombucha and other non-pasteurized foods as a way to get away from processed products.

Whole Foods spokeswoman Kate Lowery told the Associated Press that a couple dozen kombucha suppliers agreed to a voluntary withdrawal of the products. Lowery said she didn't know exactly how much alcohol the drinks had, but added that anything with .5 percent of more is required to carry a government warning.

She said they hoped to find a fast solution to the "labeling issue."

Kombucha is made by California-based Millennium Products Inc. and comes in dozens of flavors.  Millennium did not immediately comment on the issue.

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