A plaintiff has filed a putative false advertising class action alleging that East West Tea Co.’s kombucha tea bags cannot feasibly be kombucha, which is a fermented product with live cultures. Cohen v. East West Tea Co., LLC, No. 17-2339 (S.D. Cal., filed November 17, 2017). The plaintiff asserts that she bought the tea product because it was labeled “organic kombucha” and expected the product to provide the health benefits of probiotic bacteria found in kombucha. The complaint argues that because kombucha is composed of fermented steeped tea, live yeast and bacterial organisms, it cannot be “dried and stuffed into a tea bag.” In addition, the complaint asserts that the company’s pasteurization process destroys the live organisms that provide kombucha’s purported health benefits.

Claiming violations of California’s consumer-protection statutes and breach of express warranty, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages, corrective advertising and attorney’s fees.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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