UPDATED: FDA Sends Warning Letters to Three Beverage Companies

FDAEditor’s note: An earlier version of this article gave the impression that Hubert’s Lemonade products are made at the Iberia Foods facility mentioned in this article. They are not. We apologize for any inconvenience.

This article was updated on August 18, 2014.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent warning letters to two juice brands and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based food and beverage company regarding infractions of sanitation and product claims.

The FDA found a wide range of violations following the facility inspections of Garden of Flavor, a Cleveland-based HPP juice company, GoodLife Juices in Pittsburgh and Iberia Foods Company in Brooklyn, N.Y.

According to one of the letters, inspections at the Garden of Flavor facility this past winter revealed violations of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) management system, which addresses the analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement, handling, manufacturing, distribution and consumption of a finished product. By not operating its high pressure processor within the accordance of this regulation, some of Garden of Flavor’s juice blends — Lemon Pepp, Goji Pineapple, Appleade, Twisted Roots, Mean Green and Cucumber Fresh — are adulterated because they have been prepared, packed and/or held in unsanitary conditions, the FDA states.

 gardenofflavorThe FDA has called for Garden of Flavor to add greater detail to its HACCP plan, such as a consistent 5-log reduction of pertinent microorganisms for a period as long as the shelf life of the products, as well as a plan specific to each type of juice, rather than the company’s current, single plan for all juices.

GoodLife Juices received a letter with a longer list of violations, including what the FDA deems as several violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The FDA notes that a number of GoodLife’s claims establish Essential Green Juice, PAM Juice and Beet-Reboot as drugs that have not been generally recognized as safe. New drugs cannot be legally introduced to the marketplace without FDA approval.

The following examples, culled from GoodLife’s website, lead the FDA to believe that these juices are intended for use as drugs.

  • “Kale…combats anemia…and skin disorders…”

  • “Cucumber…helps regulate blood pressure…”

  • “Ginger…combating…inflammation, and respiratory infections.”

  • “Broccoli…Perfect combination of anti-inflammation…”

  • “Apple…anti-inflammatory…”

  • “PAM Juice…Pineapples contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory agent that helps fight heart disease and arthritis…Apples contain antioxidants that cleanse…and fight arthritis…”

The FDA also found that GoodLife has violated several parts of juice HACCP regulation and has misbranded and inaccurately labeled a number of its products.

Meanwhile, the FDA states that Iberia Foods has violated Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations. The company is a manufacturer and distributor of a wide range of beverage products.

The letter sent to Iberia Foods notes a large number of sanitation violations, including bird and rodent activity and a general lack of cleanliness throughout the facility.*

If the companies don’t correct these violations, the FDA could seize products or halt operations.

Garden of Flavor and Iberia Food could not be reached for comment.

GoodLife told BevNET that it is unable to comment on the letter at this time.