GT’s Kombucha Beverages

January 2018: The Ference appeal was voluntarily dismissed, the reasons for which have not been disclosed.

November 2017: The Sweeney appeal was dismissed for failure to prosecute because the objector did not pay the docketing and filing fees.

September 2017: Two objectors (Sweeney and Ference) filed Notices of Appeal regarding the approval of the settlement.

August 2017: A federal judge granted final approval of the settlement agreement.

January 2017: A federal judge preliminarily approved a settlement of a false advertising class-action lawsuit against Millennium Products and Whole Foods Market. The complaint, which was originally filed in March 2015 and amended in June 2016, alleges that the companies misleadingly market GT’s Kombucha beverages, including non-alcoholic varieties (Enlightened Kombucha and Enlightened Synergy) and alcoholic varieties (Classic Kombucha and Classic Synergy). According to the complaint, the companies misleading market:

  • Enlightened Kombucha beverages as non-alcoholic when they actually contain two to seven times more alcohol than allowed for non-alcoholic beverages;
  • Enlightened Kombucha beverages as containing antioxidants when, in reality, they do not contain any of the nutrients the FDA requires in order to use the term “antioxidant”; and
  • Both the Enlightened and Classic lines as containing only two to three grams of sugar when they actually contain eight grams of sugar.

According to the proposed settlement terms, class members may choose to receive a cash award or voucher toward a free Millennium product. For cash awards, class members without proof of purchase may receive $3.50 for each product purchased for a maximum award of $35 while class members with proof of purchase may receive a full refund for a maximum award of $60. Class members who choose to receive vouchers may receive a voucher for each product purchased. Class members without proof of purchase may receive a maximum of $35 in product vouchers and class members with proof of purchase may receive up to $60 in vouchers.

The company also agreed to stop ordering and printing labels with the term “antioxidant” and to add warnings to its labels.

A final fairness hearing is scheduled for July 31, 2017. For more information, go to http://www.millennium-settlement.com/. (Retta et al v. Millennium Products, Inc. and Whole Foods Market, Inc., Case No. 15-cv-1801, C. D. CA.)

For more information about the marketing of alcohol and TINA.org’s coverage of the product, click here.

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