Nearly 900,000 Bags of Tea Recalled Nationwide Over Pesticide Residue

Check your pantry.

<p>Food & Wine / Yogi</p>

Food & Wine / Yogi

If you're a tea drinker, it's time to check your pantry.

On March 12, East West Tea Company, LLC, initiated a recall of more than 54,000 boxes of its Yogi tea bags, which were distributed nationwide. According to the FDA's recall report, the recall was initiated "because pesticide residues were detected above action levels."

The recalled items include the 16-count boxes of Organic Yogi Echinacea Immune Support tea bags, which come with six tea bags per pack, and four packs per box, totally nearly 900,000 bags of tea.

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The affected products are marked with the following UPC: 0 76950 45010 3. The recalled lot numbers include the following: #0000184330, #0000184853, #0000185098, #0000185100, #0000185383, #0000185385, #0000185387, #0000185389, #0000185434, #0000185436, #0000185828, #0000185830, #0000185832, #0000186519, #0000186521, #000184062, #0000186900, #0000186902, #0000186904, #0000187357, #0000187359, #0000187400, #0000187402, #0000187769, #0000188028, #0000188030, #0000188045, #0000188114, #0000186600, #0000186910, #0000187155, #0000184691, #0000184963, #0000185381, and #0000185518.

The status of the recall is ongoing. The FDA did not list which pesticides were found on the tea, nor did it note if refunds would be issued for the products, so if you have any of these bags your best bet is to throw them away immediately.

According to the FDA, its pesticide residue monitoring program is "a compliance program" used to monitor the "level of pesticide chemical residues in domestic and imported foods to ensure that they do not exceed the EPA limits or tolerances." It added that it monitors "a broad range of food samples (over 4,000 in fiscal year 2018), using a multi-residue method that analyzes approximately 800 different pesticide chemical residues in a single analysis and selective residue methods that detect pesticide chemical residues not covered by the multi-residue method."

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The federal agency also noted that The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves the use of pesticides and "may establish tolerances for pesticide chemical residues that could remain in or on food," meaning it establishes acceptable levels that are "permitted in or on a human or animal food in the United States." However, not everyone agrees with the levels the EPA has set.

In April, Food & Wine reported on Consumer Reports' pesticide research, which found "alarming levels" of pesticides on fruits and vegetables sold in the United States. In the report, the experts noted, "many EPA tolerances are set too high." So it's asking the EPA to reevaluate them.

“The way the EPA assesses pesticide risk doesn’t reflect cutting-edge science and can’t account for all the ways the chemicals might affect people’s health," Dr. Michael Hansen, a senior staff scientist at Consumer Reports, told Food & Wine, "especially given that people are often exposed to multiple pesticides at a time."

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There are ways to mitigate your pesticide risk, which you can read more about here. But for now, mitigate it by checking your tea bags and throwing out any that are a part of this recall.

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