Elementary school bans kombucha over alcohol content

Illustration for article titled Elementary school bans kombucha over alcohol content
Photo: Malykalexa (iStock)

Kombucha originated anywhere from 2,000 to 200 years ago—a long time, basically, although the drink is seeing a recent resurgence. The fermented green or black tea beverage is said to have health benefits due to its probiotic and antioxidant content. And it’s actually simple to make at home, once you can gather up the ingredients.


It’s easy to forget the beverage involves fermentation, and a byproduct is alcohol. Many kombucha makers, especially the ones that sell to supermarkets, will remove the alcohol—though GT’s, perhaps the country’s most recognizable brand, has begun selling its lightly boozy Classic line to 21+ customers (a lightweight co-worker confided he got tanked off just three bottles).

It’s those kombuchas that recently raised some concern, when a student was drinking it on an elementary-school campus in Arlington, Washington, north of Seattle. Once it was discovered that alcohol is listed on the kombucha ingredient label, the school banned the drink, sending out a letter to district “reminding them to not allow their kids to bring drugs, or alcohol, including unpasteurized kombucha tea, onto school property,” says Q13 Fox.

Some parents are banding together to try to get the school to reverse this policy stating that the kombucha has health benefits that outweigh any alcohol. Most kombucha only has a trace of alcohol in it; if it had more than 0.5 percent, it would have to be classified different by the Food And Drug Administration.One parent told Q13 Fox, “I think there’s much more important things that we can be worried about than kids drinking kombucha in school.”

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.


Cayde-6's Unloaded Dice

Friendly reminder:

There are no confirmed health benefits to kombucha, or any probiotic. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, “benefits have not been conclusively demonstrated, and not all probiotics have the same effects.”

To go into more detail, the only studies that have found possible health benefits of probiotics are limited only to people with IBS and those with diarrhea caused by infection and long-term antibiotic usage.

Furthermore, HHS also notes that there have been few studies on the safety of probiotics.

Another thing to note is that not all probiotics are the same. From HHS: “Probiotics are not all alike. For example, if a specific kind of Lactobacillus helps prevent an illness, that doesn’t necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus would have the same effect or that any of the Bifidobacterium probiotics would do the same thing.”

Additionally, one study published in 2018 demonstrated that some people’s gut microbiomes are resistant to colonization by probiotic bacteria.

Another study published in 2018 found that taking probiotic supplements after a course of antibiotic treatment can delay the return and stabilization of the gut microbiome by up to several months.


“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any probiotics for preventing or treating any health problem. Some experts have cautioned that the rapid growth in marketing and use of probiotics may have outpaced scientific research for many of their proposed uses and benefits.”





In other words...

The parents who are complaining about their kids not being able to drink kombucha because of “health benefits” have been performing fecal matter transplants on themselves.

Or in a few other words...
They’re full of shit.