Recall Issued Over Tea Contamination

( – Tens of thousands of boxes of tea have been recalled after traces of pesticide were found. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) says the contaminated tea isn’t likely to cause any harm, but anyone who’s bought it should return it anyway. It’s not clear if this is an isolated problem or if the manufacturer regularly uses pesticides.

On May 16, Newsweek reported that East West Tea, a Eugene, Oregon-based company that’s been selling specialist tea — including the organic Yogi Tea brand — since 1984, had issued a voluntary recall for over 54,000 boxes of tea more than two months ago. The recall, which the company initiated on March 12, affects the company’s Organic Yogi Echinacea Immune Support, which is popular among fans of alternative medicine.

According to the FDA’s factsheet on the recall, “pesticide residues were detected above action levels” in the product. Multiple lot numbers and pack sizes are affected. The FDA categorizes it as a Class III recall, meaning that drinking the tea probably won’t have any adverse health effects; however, the contamination exceeds permitted levels, so it’s probably a good idea not to drink it.

In a statement, East West Tea said Yogi doesn’t use pesticides, but they “exist within a complex supply chain network” and “not everyone values organic practices.” The company said chemicals could have blown onto its fields from a neighboring farm, but also revealed that they were “working with all ingredient vendors” — the farms they buy their tea from — to make sure they complied with organic rules and had taken on “new partners” to improve their testing capabilities.

So far the company hasn’t confirmed if it will refund customers who bought the affected tea. If you have a packet with one of the affected lot numbers, return it to the store where you bought it.

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