The FSAI issued guidelines for producers of fermented beverages such as kombucha after a survey found that some drinks had an undisclosed alcohol content of up to 3.9%.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has screened 32 plant-based fermented drinks sold in Ireland for compliance with laws regarding food labels and health claims.
The authority said the drink had grown in popularity in Ireland and other countries over the past few years. Kombucha, a fermented tea drink, is sold in Irish stores.
13% (four) of the drinks examined by the FSAI were found to have unreported alcohol levels between 1.5% and 3.9%.
Under EU rules, food products with an alcohol content of more than 1.2% must declare this concentration on the label.
It was also found that 91% of the drinks examined made unauthorized health and/or nutritional claims on the label, leading to statements such as « full of goodness » or « contain live cultures. »
Three-quarters of the drinks were missing mandatory label information such as product title, ingredient list, and best-by-use date.
As a result of the survey results, the FSAI developed a guidance note for producers of unpasteurized ready-to-eat plant-based foods and beverages.
The instructions contain advice on producing drinks like kombucha along with foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.
The chief executive of the FSAI, Dr Pamela Byrne, said the methods used to make the fermented drinks were « difficult to manage » and could lead to « alcohol buildup ».
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She said unintended consumption of alcohol could « pose adverse health problems » to people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
« There are clear consequences also for those in occupations where there are limited levels of alcohol permitted such as certain categories of licensed vehicle drivers, machine operators and airline pilots, » Dr. Byrne said in a statement.
She said New instructions It aims to help producers achieve “consistent production methods, safe storage, safe handling, and safe transportation” of fermented beverages.
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