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Kombucha Tea May Face Regulation as Alcoholic Beverage

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The U.S. Treasury Department says that the kombucha variety of tea — which can ferment in the bottle — may be classified as an alcoholic beverage for regulatory purposes, the New York Times reported June 25.

The agency said that it was working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure that the tea product is being properly categorized and regulated. “Right now, our primary concern is to ensure that consumers are not misled about the nature of alcohol beverage products that might be marketed as nonalcohol beverages,” the Treasury Department memo stated.

Analysts said that kombucha tea sold under brand names like Synergy can ferment after shipment, raising the alcohol content from a legal 0.5 percent or less to as high as 3 percent, similar to some beers.

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