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Kava legally sold in Kava Bars as a beverage?

Discussion in 'In-Depth Kava Discussion' started by Epotratz, Jun 26, 2018.

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  1. Epotratz

    Epotratz New Member

    In the US it appears that kava cannot be sold as a beverage (food) since it does not yet have GRAS status. It appears that kava can be legally sold as a dietary supplement in the US, but this would not include unlabeled ready-to-drink beverages in ‘kava bars’.

    Question: How are ‘kava bars’ able to legally sell kava as a ready-to-drink beverage (food)? Are kava bars just hoping to fly under the FDA radar? Or is there some kind of restaurant establishment exemption for non-GRAS foods?

    I combing through the CFR right now and not able to find any quick answers...

  2. Señor Chuggs

    Señor Chuggs Friend of Kava

    I've seen posts before about people having trouble starting up with a kava bar for reasons kinda like what you state. Some places are just stricter than others. Personally, my hope is that as more of these kava bars pop up and become accepted by the public, the issue will look more like a shortcoming in the GRAS list, rather than a cafe serving a "supplement".
    Epotratz likes this.
  3. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    One bar was forced to sell kava in aealed bottles by their local health authorities. I suppose in most places local health authorities have bigger fish to fry than to look into people's kava shells.
    Epotratz and SelfBiasResistor like this.
  4. Alia

    Alia Kava Enthusiast

    You raise a great question and one that has been discussed within these Forums before. Most dictionaries define kava as - “a narcotic, sedative drink” which, I guess, means Webster and Oxford consider it a beverage. There is an international effort to classify kava as a safe beverage within Codex alimentarius and there is an ongoing grassroots and University effort in Hawai‘i to classify ‘awa as the Official Beverage of Hawai‘i. Both efforts are pending and frustratingly slow! Basically the world needs to get up to speed with New Zealand. I often wonder what the pre-contact, indigenous folks of the Pacific Islands who actually invented kava, ‘awa, sakau, ava, yaqona would think of their beverage being called (by the FDA) a “dietary supplement”…? Sounds like a pill to me..
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  5. Krunkie McKrunkface

    Krunkie McKrunkface Kava Enthusiast

    I've heard of one nak that couldn't sell you prepared kava, you had to buy water from them and then they "gave" you some medium grind or instant kava and you had to knead it at the table, but it still worked out ok

    I've also been to restaurants in NC where they could not sell you wine with the meal but you could bring your own but then they charged you a corking fee but it had to be kept on the floor in a brown paper bag. Not kidding. Even fine restaurants. Looked weird BUT it did work. In Halifax, Nova Scotia restaurants back when we lived there in the early 80s couldn't sell you beer on Sunday unless you had ordered food. So they had an old cheeseburger you could order, and it just got re-used for years till some American tourist ate it.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  6. Señor Chuggs

    Señor Chuggs Friend of Kava

    I would likely be the tourist that kicks over my uncorked wine bottle I was asked to leave on the floor. And possibly the one who eats the old cheeseburger.
    Blue Roads, Mrbinx69, PapaMoi and 2 others like this.
  7. Epotratz

    Epotratz New Member

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.
  8. PapaMoi

    PapaMoi Kava Enthusiast

    I'd have a real beef with a burger like that!
    Mrbinx69 likes this.
  9. Mrbinx69

    Mrbinx69 Kava Enthusiast

    Hopefully one of them responds on here but maybe email one of them or all and then let us know the response... im considering opening a kava bar in western new york and this would be helpful information
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.
  10. recentreturn

    recentreturn Kava Enthusiast

    It'd be nice if they respond. I don't know the law. But if it really is a gray area and I was their lawyer, I'd tell them not to say anything in writing.
    I wonder if all this homebrew Kombucha that I see for sale in healthfood stores is GRAS?
  11. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    Where? Buffalo area or closer to Rochester?
    Mrbinx69 likes this.
  12. HeadHodge

    HeadHodge Kneads Kava

    Its not a problem as long as its served in a proper container.
    Mrbinx69 and Henry like this.
  13. Krunʞy

    Krunʞy Kava Enthusiast Admin

    Tyler and Brooklyn kava don't participate here, your best bet is to contact them directly. As for Judd, I recommend a PM.
  14. Bula Kava House

    Bula Kava House Portland, OR Kava Vendor

    Kava has historical safe use as a beverage. We submitted an application to serve kava over eight years ago and have had annual renewals, regular inspections, and conversations with inspectors and department heads about kava. We've even served the inspectors. The only thing they don't like is that we serve it in coconut shells, which are slightly porous. We are confident in the legality of the service of kava. I've had a private conversation with the OP so his question has been answered.

    (removed -mods)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2018
    recentreturn and kastom_lif like this.
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