Yogi Tea Class Action: Echinacea Tea Allegedly Contains Pesticides

Yogi Tea Echinacea Immune Support

Yogi Tea Faces Lawsuit Over Pesticide Contamination in Recalled Echinacea Tea

Taking a big gulp of pesticides with your organic, immune-support tea isn’t something most tea-drinkers would expect, but according to a new lawsuit that is exactly what happened to imbibers of Yogi Tea’s Echinacea Immune Support Tea.

East West Tea Company, better known as Yogi Tea, has been hit with a lawsuit accusing it of not alerting consumers on the tea’s packaging that it could, and did, contain pesticides, an issue that was brought to consumers’ attention after the company recalled almost 55,000 packs of the tea. 

Undisclosed Pesticides in "Immune Support" Tea

Yogi tea drinker and New York resident Marie Kaatz filed the proposed class action lawsuit against the company, accusign it of failing to disclose the risk of pesticide contamination, undermining its “Immune Support” claim and posing “serious and life-threatening adverse health consequences” to consumers.

She argues that the company undertook “false, deceptive, and misleading” advertising by not saying anywhere on the labeling the tea could contain pesticides, and that she and many other consumers would not have bought it if they had known the truth. 

55,000 Boxes of Yogi Tea Recalled After Contamination Discovery

Kaatz lawsuit follows a large recall in which Yogi pulled 54846 packs of the echinacea tea from the shelves in March after it discovered, “as part of routine audit procedures,” that the tea contained “unexpected traces of pesticides.”

“While Yogi does not use pesticides – buying only to Organic Specifications that do not allow conventional pesticide use – we exist within a complex supply chain network where not everyone values organic practices in the same way that we do,” the company said in a statement to consumers. Essentially, the company claims the pesticides got into the tea from a neighboring farm using pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

Kaatz claims in the lawsuit that the remedy through the recall, where consumers had to return the tea to the place of purchase for a refund, was “designed to reach very few people and designed to benefit very few of the consumers who purchased the product.”  

“The class action remedy is superior to Defendant’s failed recall in every conceivable fashion,” she argues.

How Do Pesticides Get Into Organically Farmed Tea?

The Yogi Tea lawsuit highlights how organically-labeled tea can still be susceptible to pesticide contamination through various means:

  • Environmental Drift: Pesticides from nearby farms can reach tea plantations through air or water.
  • Residual Soil Pesticides: Past use of pesticides can leave residues in the soil that get absorbed by tea plants.
  • Processing Contamination: Contact with contaminated equipment or processing areas can introduce pesticides.

Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Pesticide Contamination in Tea

  • Look for "organic" certification labels.
  • Consider additional certifications like Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, or Non-GMO Project.
  • Choose reputable brands known for their commitment to pesticide-free tea production.
  • Opt for loose leaf tea, which often undergoes less processing than tea bags.
  • Support small or local tea producers with potentially more transparent practices.
  • Read online reviews and reports about tea brands.

In her class action against Yogi Tea, Kaatz wants to represent tea drinkers from across the country. She is suing for violations of New York business law, as well a breach of warranty.

Case Details

  • Lawsuit: Kaatz v East West Tea Company, LLC
  • Case Number: 7:24-cv-03996
  • Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Plaintiffs' Attorneys

  • Jason P. Sultzer, Joseph Lipari, and Daniel Markowitz (Sultzer & Lipari, PLLC)
  • Nick Suciu III (Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC)



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