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Suit Claims Big Problem With Popular Arizona Iced Tea Flavor

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2019 11:20 AM CDT
A selection of Arizona Iced Tea is shown at a convenience store on April 30, 2010, in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(Newser) – Ginseng is rare, expensive, and takes a long time to mature. Arizona Iced Tea's "Green Tea With Ginseng and Honey" flavor costs 99 cents or less for a 23-fluid-ounce can. If you feel like something's not quite adding up here, you're not alone: A new lawsuit claims that the drink contains no detectable ginseng, Modern Farmer reports. According to the suit, filed in New York, three separate lab tests could detect no ginseng in the Arizona Iced Tea, but they did detect ginseng in two competing tea products claiming to include ginseng. If it succeeds, the lawsuit could force Arizona to change the labeling for the drink, which Arizona says is the "best-selling green tea" in the US.

Currently, the flavor lists "ginseng extract" second-to-last on the list of ingredients (which are listed from most to least plentiful), and the tea claims to contain "ginseng for energy." The root, which is most commonly found in China and South Korea but is also grown in the US, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, is said to have all sorts of health benefits, and typically sells for $50 per pound for the cultivated version. (Wild ginseng can go for as high as a thousand bucks a pound.) The suit was filed by two consumers and seeks class-action status to represent anyone who has purchased the tea, Newsday reports. (McDonald's was once sued for $5 million over two slices of cheese.)

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