South West kom­bucha com­pany’s bid to squash the fake brews

The West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - SO­PHIE EL­LIOTT

A for­mer AFL star and his wife who make kom­bucha in Mar­garet River say there needs to be a stan­dard def­i­ni­tion of the health-giv­ing fer­mented tea drink — and warn that con­sumers are be­ing ripped off by in­fe­rior im­i­ta­tions.

For­mer West Coast Ea­gle and Dock­ers de­fender Trent Car­roll and his wife Amanda are the brains be­hind rok Kom­bucha, which has just marked the launch of a bot­tling fa­cil­ity partly funded by a $250,000 State Gov­ern­ment agribusi­ness grant.

But the cou­ple say there is no stan­dard to dis­tin­guish their prod­uct from im­i­ta­tion drinks.

Mrs Car­roll said the lack of trans­parency in the in­dus­try had re­sulted in an un­even play­ing field and cost them high-pro­file con­tracts in the health sec­tor.

“We cre­ate real, authen­ti­cally brewed kom­bucha, but the ma­jor­ity of the com­pe­ti­tion on the mar­ket have just whacked this la­bel on the bot­tle and con­sumers think they’re drink­ing a health drink when they are not at all,” she said.

Health claims as­so­ci­ated with kom­bucha in­clude im­mune and en­ergy-boost­ing prop­er­ties and im­proved gut func­tion.

“Real” kom­bucha is a low-sugar fer­mented drink, But the lack of stan­dards means any­thing can be ad­ver­tised as kom­bucha, even if it’s high in sugar.

“We just want to get some stan­dards in place, just like how orange juice has to state if it is from concentrat­e,” Mrs Car­roll said.

The cou­ple’s push for la­belling stan­dards comes as the In­ter­na­tional Kom­bucha Brew­ers As­so­ci­a­tion works on a set of stan­dards to out­line what iden­ti­fies au­then­tic kom­bucha and what lies out­side and should be la­belled as a “kom­bucha-like” drink.

At the open­ing of the plant last week, Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan vowed to take their fight to the Fed­eral com­pe­ti­tion watch­dog.

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