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A California consumer has filed a false advertising class action lawsuit against the makers of Yogi Green Tea Kombucha, alleging the tea products actually do not contain any real kombucha.

Plaintiff Sydney Cohen says East West Tea Company LLC violated multiple state consumer protection laws in falsely representing its Yogi Green Tea Kombucha as containing “Organic Kombucha” despite the products allegedly not containing any kombucha.

The Yogi Green Tea Kombucha false advertising class action lawsuit points out that the front packaging on the tea claims that the product “supplies antioxidants to support overall health.” On one side of the packaging label, the Supplements Facts list the tea as containing a “proprietary blend of herbs,” one being “Organic Kombucha.” On the back of the packaging label, East West Tea claims that it “combines Green Tea with Kombucha to “supply antioxidants to support your overall health.”

There has been a recent spike in consumer fascination for Kombucha, a centuries-old fermented beverage that contains live, beneficial bacteria and cultures commonly referred to as probiotics. Probiotics are associated with providing purported health benefits such as improved digestion, a boosted immune system, and overall supported health. Many consumers purchase kombucha products in hopes that they will receive the positive health benefits attributed with the probiotic brew.

Since at least 2015, East West Tea has targeted these health-conscious consumers and capitalized on the growing demand for products containing kombucha. And Cohen claims she is one of those consumers, detailing that she purchased Yogi Green Tea Kombucha products for a premium price, believing she was receiving a tea that contained kombucha and its associated health benefits.

“[Plaintiff] relied on Defendant’s misrepresentation that the tea did in fact contain ‘Organic Kombucha.’ Indeed, had Plaintiff known that the Kombucha Products did not contain kombucha, Plaintiff would have just purchased a regular green tea varietal.”

Cohen’s complaint goes on to contend that kombucha is the “end result of fermenting brewed tea comprised of live organisms created as a result of the fermentation process” and that is essential that the tea avoids pasteurization to hold its probiotic benefits. As such, kombucha cannot be dried and stuffed into a tea bag as East West Tea does.

In fact, according to court documents, East West Tea has admitted on its website that its Kombucha products do not contain “live organisms as does traditional kombucha.” The Yogi Green Tea Kombucha maker also admits that their Kombucha process “pasteurized the infusion’s microbial culture.”

The Yogi Green Tea Kombucha false advertising class action lawsuit charges Cohen along with thousands of other consumers were duped by the false, misleading, and deceptive representations and omissions made by East West Tea. Cohen is proposing to represent a class of California consumers who purchased the Yogi Kombucha Products “during the applicable statutory limitations period” for personal use.

She is requesting a trial by jury and is seeking monetary and punitive damages, and an order mandating East West Tea engage in a corrective advertising campaign.

Cohen is represented by Brittany C. Casola of Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela & Carpenter, LLP.

The Yogi Green Tea Kombucha False Advertising Class Action Lawsuit is Cohen et al. v. East West Tea Company LLC, et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-02339, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

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