I know so many people who drink kombucha for its health benefits. Most people I know make their own, so I think they will be safe from a government encroaching action that is coming down the pike. But small companies that produce the health beverage for the retail market had better watch out. The feds are planning to start regulating the production of kombucha because its alcohol content causes it to fall under their jurisdiction.
Health Impact News reports:
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a division of the US Treasury Department, recently sent letters to several producers of kombucha, warning them that since their beverages supposedly exceeded the allowable alcohol limit, they must be labeled as alcoholic beverages and be subject to alcohol regulation or face hefty fines and legal action.
When I first read this, I thought to myself, “Really! Why would they care?” Of course, the government really didn’t care until someone else tattled on the kombucha producers. That someone else was soft drink producers who were afraid their piece of the beverage market is being crunched.
Health Impact News adds:
Has the soft drink industry detected a threat from a rapidly growing market and decided to use the power of the federal government to eliminate competition? There doesn’t seem to be another explanation.
The facts of the case reveal just how outrageous this investigation is—further suggesting that crony interests may be pulling the strings. The government is using the same alcohol test for kombucha that it uses for wine, beer, and spirits. But the organic acids and natural sedimentation in kombucha can be read as ethanol, which throws off the results of the test.
Unpasteurized kombucha contains the “good” bacteria that promote gut health and boost immunity. But if kombucha is regulated like alcohol, many supermarkets and convenience stores won’t be able to sell it, and it is unlikely that health-conscious consumers would travel to liquor stores to stock up on the drink.
Liquor is also very heavily regulated—by states as well as the federal government. Out-of-state shipping may be barred, and prices may be fixed by regulation. The probiotic benefits of kombucha would also be denied to anyone under 21. The combination of these factors would likely lead today’s producers to decide that it’s no longer profitable to make kombucha, thus restricting—possibly eliminating—consumer access to it. Or, just as likely, Big Food (especially soda) companies would simply take over the market.
This is yet another example of Big Government putting its nose where it doesn’t belong and working on behalf of a special interest group. Average citizens who drink this beverage for its health benefits will be the ones who pay the price.