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Recent Recall Due to Pesticides in Organic Tea Brews New Worries About Chemicals in Food

Posted in Outbreaks & Recalls on June 28, 2024

The East West Tea Company issued a recent recall due to pesticides in organic tea well above the legal limit for organic products.

Consumers opt for organic products for a reason. Use of pesticides in foods and the long-term effects of these chemicals in our diet are an increasing concern across the globe.

East West Tea Company is the parent company of Yogi brand teas and Choice Organic teas.

Nearly 900,000 Tea Bags Recalled Due to Pesticides in Organic Tea

The recall consists of 54,846 packs of the Organic Yogi Echinacea Immune Support tea. This comes to nearly 900,000 tea bags pulled due to pesticides in organic tea that should be pesticide-free.

Products containing the official “organic” label must meet strict requirements. According to the company, the voluntary recall was initiated due to pesticide residues that were detected “above action levels.” The problem was identified during routine audit procedures.

After testing revealed the presence of pesticide residues, the company initiated a voluntary recall.

The Recall

The recall from East West Tea Company was announced on March 12, 2024. However, tea is a shelf stable product and can remain in consumer pantries for quite some time.

Consumers are instructed to check their homes for recalled products.

It is unclear whether the company is issuing refunds for these recalled products. If you have a sensitivity to pesticides (type of pesticide not indicated), do not consume recalled products.

Recall Information:

Organic Yogi Echinacea Immune Support, Caffeine Herbal Supplement

Serving Size 1 tea bag, 16 tea bags per pack, 4 packs per box

UPC: 0 76950 45010 3

Case GTIN: 60076950450105


East West Tea Company, LLC Eugene, OR Yogi Echinacea Immune Support, Caffeine Herbal Supplement

16 tea bags per pack, 6 packs per box

UPC 0 76950 45010 3

Case GTIN: 20076950450107

Lot Numbers Include:

Lot #0000184330 Lot #0000186904
Lot #0000184853 Lot #0000187357
Lot #0000185098 Lot #0000187359
Lot #0000185100 Lot #0000187400
Lot #0000185383 Lot #0000187402
Lot #0000185385 Lot #0000187769
Lot #0000185387 Lot #0000188028
Lot #0000185389 Lot #0000188030
Lot #0000185434 Lot #0000188045
Lot #0000185436 Lot #0000188114
Lot #0000185828 Lot #0000186600
Lot #0000185830 Lot #0000186910
Lot #0000185832 Lot #0000187155
Lot #0000186519 Lot #0000184691
Lot #0000186521 Lot #0000184963
Lot #000184062 Lot #0000185381
Lot #0000186900 Lot #0000185518
Lot #0000186902


Affected products were distributed to retail locations nationwide.

The Problem with Pesticides

Pesticides, as most people know, are used to protect plants from pests, weeds, or diseases. They are primarily used in agriculture, however, they can also be used to help protect humans from “vector-born” diseases, such as those transmitted by mosquitos and rodents. Illnesses, such as malaria, dengue fever, and schistosomiasis can be prevented by pesticides.

These insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, and plant growth regulators are used in a good amount of the foods and beverages we consume.

While keeping out food supply abundant and protecting both agriculture and people from pests and the diseases they carry are very important, the negative health effects may not outweigh the benefits.

When the human body is exposed to pesticides by consumption, skin exposure, or inhalation, the chemicals can make their way into the body and become stored there. Many pesticides become bioaccumulated in body fat because a lot of these pesticides are fat soluble, and can remain in the body for a long time.

What happens when pesticides enter the body?

The impact of pesticides on humans has been widely studied and are hugely controversial. Particularly the commonly used glyphosate.  However, more research is always needed to determine exposure limits and possible long-term effects these chemicals have on our bodies.

That said, dermatological, gastrointestinal, neurological, carcinogenic, respiratory, reproductive, and endocrine effects have been observed both in mouse studies and in correlation data from those exposed.

From cancer to reproductive issues, pesticides can have a significant impact on our health.

This is the overwhelming driver behind the organic food movement.

Organic Food Movement on the Rise

The organic food movement is only growing.

In a recent report, the incremental increase in organic food sales has shown a steady incline, with a larger jump in 2010.

In fact, just in the United States, organic food sales totaled $61.7 billion in 2022. Foods meeting Certified Organic label standards now account for 6% of total food sales in the United States.

How Does Pesticides in Organic Tea Happen?

According to the company, “Yogi does not use pesticides.” Additionally, they buy only ingredients that meet organic specifications who do not allow conventional pesticide use.

Unfortunately, this is sometimes not enough.

In some cases, as the Yogi statement suggests, “if a neighboring farm is applying pesticides or chemical fertilizers, those applications may drift onto our farmers’ organic land.”

Widespread use of chemical pesticides increases the risk of overspray and wind drifts. This creates an issue for certified organic farmers who must meet strict criteria to maintain that status.

According to the statement and the FDA announcement, the traces of pesticides found in the product do not pose a risk of harm or illness in the amount present. However, it doesn’t meet the quality standards of the firm, or the “organic” labeling specifications required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Yogi Intends to Add Additional Testing to Their Processes

While overspray and wind drifts can contaminate “organically grown” farms, it doesn’t mean that those products are immune from backlash of pesticides in their products.

In a statement about the situation and how they intend to move forward, the company indicated their intention to adda more testing to their supplier program and products.

They said, “we are working with all ingredient vendors to ensure full compliance with our supplier expectations and testing requirements. We also have engaged new partners to add additional testing capabilities across all of our products.”

Stay in Touch with Make Food Safe!

If you’d like to know more about food safety topics in the news, like Recent Recall Due to Pesticides in Organic Tea Brews New Worries About Chemicals in Food, check out the Make Food Safe Blog. We regularly update trending topics, foodborne infections in the news, recalls, and more! Stay tuned for quality information to help keep your family safe, while The Lange Law Firm, PLLC strives to Make Food Safe!

By: Heather Van Tassell (contributing writer, non-lawyer)