Popular Beverage Recalled Over Potential Botulism Contamination

Health officials are warning consumers against drinking a popular brand of drink mixes after they were found to possibly be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium responsible for causing the rare and potentially deadly illness of botulism. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted consumers in a Thursday, Sept. 29 notice that the Chai Box recalled chai concentrate mixes due to the health hazard.

The recall concerns two products in two different sizes. Per the FDA notice, Chai Concentrate Mixes sold in a 16-ounce glass bottle with UPC 7 93611 81925 2 and in a 64-ounce plastic bottle with UPC 7 93611 81926 9 are recalled. Also included in the recall are two sizes of Unsweetened Chai Concentrate Mix – 16-ounce glass bottles with UPC 793611819252 and 64-ounce plastic bottles with UPC 793611819269. All affected products have Best By dates between 09/22/2022 and 03/16/2023, which are either etched on the bottles or on a sticker on the bottom or side of the bottles. The recalled products were shipped nationwide to consumers, retailers, and wholesalers, and some product was also shipped to two consumers in Canada. The FDA noted that the mixes were available online and via retail and wholesale facilities.

The Chai Box issued the recall a process review by the Georgia Department of Agriculture discovered a potential under-processing error that were part of the commercial sterilization process, which may result in contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens and may lead to Clostridium botulinum contamination. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium responsible for causing botulism, a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nerves. Symptoms of foodborne botulism typically begin 12 to 36 hours after the toxin enters the body, according to the Mayo Clinic, and include trouble swallowing or speaking, dry mouth, facial weakness on both sides of the face, blurred or double vision, trouble breathing, paralysis, and nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Botulism may cause life-threatening symptoms, and it is advised that you seek urgent medical care if you suspect that you have botulism.

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The FDA said there have been no reports of illness associated with recalled Chai Box products. However, due to the health hazard the products potentially posed, consumers are advised against consuming the products. The recalled products should instead be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund or exchange.