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Lindsay said

Herbal Tea recall, oh my!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/02/23/bc-herbal-tea-recall.html

Has anyone tried this company before? I just saw this on CBC and found it interesting. Also has anyone ever bought recalled tea/tisanes?

18 Replies
Dustin said

Ack, that’s horrible! Salmonella has been ruining tons of things lately!

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sandra said

salmonella in tea/tisanes? can only occur if the tea/fruit came into contact with the bacteria (raw eggs, meat). ??

Salmonella seems to be occurring in veggies and fruit more often these days. The usual reason is from runoff or fertilizer used from infected animal but I’ve mostly seen runoff as the reason.

Dustin said

Yup, I have seen it in spinach twice now with the first time being a major recall. Cantaloupe is susceptible to it as well because the skin is so textured and porous.

Dustin-Those were the main ones I was thinking of and also the tomato recall and I think Taco Bell with a lettuce scare. During the big swine flu scare, I had read an article claiming that runoff from really poor pig farming practices in Mexico was the cause but I never followed up on that to see if it was legitimate though the article did seem to have a lot of proof.

Lala said

A lot of third world countries that produce fruits and vegetables, and I guess tea, will use human sewage to fertilize fields becuase animal fertilizer is too expensive or not in abundance. There is a higher percentage of salmonella, and other diseases, in human waste.
Its also important to note that the most common way produce is conatimated is that they are grown in the contaminated soil/fertilizer. I.e. fruits and veg that touch the ground are more commonly contaminated becuase they would have touched the soil.
It makes me wonder how the tea became contaminated becuase tea leaves should not be touching the ground. But if fertlizer was sprayed on the leaves, or there was contamination somewhere in the production process, then that would account for it.
I guess its always important to clean your produce before eating. Not sure how you can do this with tea leaves though.

Lala-I don’t remember which one, but one of the major outbreaks was because animal waste was being allowed to run into water systems. Another farmer was drawing water from that source and using it to water the fruit/veggies. That may be the case here then.

Dustin said

The tea in the link is a rooibos. I’m not sure what those plants look like or if the parts of the plant that are used for tea are close to the ground. It was a lemon-hibiscus rooibos, so either of those two ingredients (or additional ingredients) could have been the source of the contamination as well.

Big farming mishaps like this sadden me and give me a greater appreciation for my urban farm neighbors who work very diligently to have a tight system of properly re-using and discarding waste from each step of what they farm. Fish for filtration, black soldier flies for composting meat, the fly larvae providing extra protein to the chickens, chicken poop fertilizing the vegetables. It’s a shame that the closed re-using system doesn’t work or isn’t being applied to larger farming.

Oh No, now i don’t wanna eat anything unless i grow it at home, i better start my garden lol

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Thats crazy!!!!

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cteresa said

Stupid question but here goes:

if the tea is contaminated with salmonella (bacteria right?) would not sticking the tea in boiling water (say 90 to 100 degrees) for at least a couple minutes just kill it? Because I can´t think of more things more sterile than tea (as long as the utensils and cup used are not contaminated).

Of course I get they can not willingly sell stuff contaminated and I guess there might be problems with contimating other food stuffs it gets into contact with, but just wondering – odds of getting salmonella bacteria surviving a 2 minute dip in boiling water, give those bacteria a medal if they do.

About growing your own food stuffs and all, just a word of warning, be careful as well. There are contaminants everywhere, from free roaming cats to higher pollution on urban zones things we are not aware. Do always use proper hygiene just the same. And sticking stuff in boiling water is usually pretty much the safest thing ever, yay for tea.

Uniquity said

Even if that did fix it, you likely wouldn’t have enough flavour left to steep (as you wouldn’t want to drink the infusion used to kill germs, I think?)

cteresa said

why not? any steep has killed germs, sure, boiling water is boiling water. the remainders of dead salmonella bacteria surely is not different than the remainders of other dead bacteria?
I am not sure harmful bacteria taste any different than normal bacteria and surely there is bacteria in all teas or all food or all non-specifically-kept-sterile matters, right? But boiling water, even tea made with salmonella containing vegetable matter is probably safer than normal, below the limits salad.

I get salmonella is harmfull and there is risk to contaminate others but tea surely and people MIGHT not make their tea with boiling water but use instead just warm water or sun tea, but surely tea is the one foodstuff where contamination matters is less of a big deal? Put anything on 95C water for 2 minutes, is there any harmful bacteria which can survive that?
Lala said

It takes 10 minutes at 75degrees C to kill salmonella. I guess the key would be how long does the tea stay hot for.

cteresa said

75 is pretty cold tea wise. For herbal and rooibos teas I go with 90-95, just short of free boiling (and lol like I said, if salmonella survives that, give it a medal, only a few industrial processed sealed foods can assure that!)

I’d be more concerned about the ‘10 minutes’ part.

cteresa said

Saying something takes 10 minutes at 75 C to kill does not mean it takes 10 minutes at 90C. For example UHT pasteurization is about around 200-250 C and takes just af few seconds or tenths of seconds. So, data, imagine water at 95C how long does it take to kill all salmonella.

Dunno, but if it was a tea I really liked, I’d probably brave the salmonella so there’s that.

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