Sodas, juices and other drinks recalled by FDA over harmful chemicals

Sodas, juices and other drinks recalled by FDA over harmful chemicals Sodas, juices and other drinks recalled by FDA over harmful chemicals

Nearly 30 beverages have been recalled by the FDA in 2024 so far, with the majority pulled from shelves for containing harmful ingredients.

All but four (86 percent) of the 28 were recalled because they contained something the company had not declared - including drugs, bacteria and harmful chemicals.

A tea sold for pain relief was recalled for containing anti-inflammatory medication that was not included on the label, while apple juice was recalled for containing high levels of arsenic, a toxic metal linked to an increased risk of bladder and skin cancers.

These incidents come after multiple soda products and flavorings were alsorecalled for containing undeclared dangerous food dyes, including one that can causecancer.

The biggest beverage recall of the year so far was Fiji Water.

Some 1.9million bottles of the water, made by Natural Waters of Viti Limited, were recalled due to manganese and three types of bacteria detected in the water.

According to the CDC, manganese is a mineral the body needs to stay healthy, but at high levels it can cause damage to the brain.

The incident was categorized as a Class III health hazard, which means the bottled waters were 'not likely to cause adverse health consequences.'

Dr Darin Detwiler, former FDA and USDA advisor and food safety expert at Northeastern University in Boston, told new drinks can end up going out onto the market very quickly without proper checks being done.

The number of recalls may be high compared to previous years, because not only are there more undeclared ingredients making their way into drinks, but there is also increasing regulatory pressure for the FDA to clamp down on food and beverage companies, Dr Detwiler said.

The figures from 2024 are a slight increase from last year: At this point in 2023 there had been 23 beverage recalls made by the FDA.

The 2024 number is also slightly lower than in 2018, when there were 30 beverage recalls across the same time period.

'There are a lot of drinks that have been scrutinized of late and a lot of it has to do with labeling and undeclared ingredients,' Dr Detwiler said.

One such set of drinks recalled this year weresodas from Charles Boggini Company:Pink Lemonade, Yellow Lemonade and Yellow Lemonade X, as well as a flavoring product called Cola Flavoring Base.

The pink and yellow lemonades were recalled because the company did not disclose they contained food dyes Red 40and Yellow 5 respectively.

Both of the chemicals contain benzidine, a human and animal carcinogen permitted in low, presumably safe levels.

However, companies must declare if products contain it.

According to the FDA, ingestion of free benzidine raises the cancer risk to just under the 'concern' threshold, or one cancer case per one million people.

Drinks are harder to regulate than food or drugs, Dr Detwiler said, because ingredients can get added at different times before it reaches the consumer.

'If everything was in cans or bottles that might be different,' Dr Detwiler said.

But with drinks in dispensers and pitchers at fast food chains and restaurants, 'people don't necessarily see the ingredients that are in some of those drinks, and so that becomes problematic.' used the US Food and Drug Administration Recall Information Search and filtered for beverages recalled in 2024.

Tapee Tea was first recalled in August 2023 but classified in January as a Class I health hazard risk, meaning when consumed, the product has a reasonable chance of causing 'serious adverse health consequences or death,' according to the FDA.

Samples of the tea, made by Kentucky-based The Wiedemann Company, and marketed for pain relief, were analyzed by the FDA and found to contain the medications dexamethasone and piroxicam, which were not listed on the label.

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions, but it can reduce an individual's ability to fight infections and can cause high blood sugar levels, muscle injuries and psychiatric problems.

The drug can also cause serious side effects when combined with other medications, especially because the consumer is unaware they are consuming it.

Piroxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that can increase the risk of heart problems, such as heart attack or stroke, as well as bleeding, ulcers and deadly perforation of the stomach and intestines.

In April, New York- based PepsiCo recalled some sugar-free and caffeine-free Schweppes Zero Sugar Ginger Aleafter an internal investigation found it did in fact contain full sugar.

Customers who bought the product were advised to throw it away, particularly if they needed to monitor their blood sugar, such as in the case of diabetics.

This was deemed as a Class II issue, meaning the product is 'not likely to cause adverse health consequences.'

Just a week later, PepsiCo had to recall another drink due to a similar sugar mix-up.

The company voluntarily recalled more than 2,000 cases of its Mug Root Beer because the cans actually contained Mug Zero Sugar root beer.


Meanwhile, close to 25,000 cases of Martinelli's apple juice were also recalled in April over elevated levels of inorganic arsenic.

According to the FDA, S. Martinelli & Company voluntarily recalled 24,500 cases - containing 147,100 bottles - of its Gold Medal Apple Juice sold in one liter glass bottles.

Arsenic, a metal naturally found in the Earth's crust, is used in pesticides and processes like cement manufacturing.

Inorganic arsenic compounds, such as the kind found in water, are highly toxic, while organic compounds, such as the type found in seafood, are less harmful.

Repeated exposure to inorganic arsenic can damage DNA, weaken the immune system and lead to the formation of cancer cells, as well as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Arsenic can enter food when used by farmers as a pesticide and fertilizer, and is a known carcinogen.

Chronic exposure has been linked to an increased risk of bladder and skin cancers, as well as cancers of the lung, digestive tract, liver, kidney, and lymphatic system.

Drink companies selling nationwide want to give customers a consistent taste and color experience, but regulations on certain ingredients vary state-to-state.

What ends up happening is 'the consistency of the drink, taste and experience is prioritized over food safety,' Dr Detwiler told this website.

Sometimes beverage companies themselves do not properly understand the requirements.

'Sometimes it's like, well, we met the requirements when we were selling in this state, but then when we started to sell it to other states... we didn't realize the regulatory implications of selling it across state lines,' he added.

Multiple infant formulas have also been recalled by the FDA.

An infant formula powder made by Mead Johnson & Company was recalled over concerns it was contaminated with a bacteria that could cause life-threatening health complications in infants.

More than 1million cans of Enfamil Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Infant Formula Powder - a baby formula made for infants with an allergy to cow's milk - were pulled from shelves due to the potential presence of the bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii.

Cronobacter sakazakii is a bacteria that lives in dry places, such as powered milk, herbal teas and powdered infant formula and infections with the bacteria can cause brain swelling and seizures in infants.

Two goat milk formula products for toddlers from Californian company Sammy's Milk were recalled in April for misleading claims on the company's website and social media.

The company claimed the product was safe for use as a sole source of nutrition forvery young children.

But the Goat Milk Toddler Formula is not recommended for infants under 12 months of age, due to the excess protein content and potential stress placed on infant's kidneys.

It also lacks enough essential nutrients that infants need for tissues and brain development and growth.

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