- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2017

A coffee company that markets itself as “the world’s strongest coffee” for its caffeine content issued a recall notice for one of its products that is possibility contaminated with a potentially deadly poison.

Death Wish Coffee Co., based in Round Lake, New York, voluntary recalled its 11-ounce Death Wish Nitro Cold Brew Cans out of fear the product is contaminated with botulin, the bacteria that leads to the potentially deadly food poisoning botulism.

The company came to the conclusion after reviewing its packaging process with the outside company Process Authority and finding that the low acid foods commercialized in reduced oxygen packaging could lead to the growth of the dangerous toxin.

Botulin can thrive in environments with little or no oxygen, low acid, low sugar, low salt, of a certain temperature and certain amounts of water.

The bacteria affects the body by attacking nerve cells. Symptoms usually start with weakness in the muscles around the eyes, face, mouth and throat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Botulism’s effect on weakening breathing muscles can lead to difficulty breathing and even death.

Botulism can only be detected by a lab test and is treated with an antitoxin, which blocks the toxic bacteria from destroying the body’s nerves.

Nitro cold brew coffee, which is infused with nitrogen and delivered through a pressurized valve, has risen in popularity in recent years for its taste and consistency. It can be packaged for mass consumption, as in kegs, or in individual cans.

The company has stopped production of the Nitro Cold Brew Cans, removed them from its online store and pulled them from the shelves of several stores and independent retailers.

The company said no related illnesses have been reported to date, but stressed that anyone in possession of a Death Wish Nitro can should dispose of it or return it to the location of purchase with proof of purchase for a full refund.

Death Wish Coffee Co. was founded in 2013 and advertises itself as the producer of the most caffeinated coffee beverages. A report by Consumer Reports said the company’s coffee has 59 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce, compared a typical cup of Joe at 12 to 16 milligrams per fluid ounce.

The recommended caffeine intake for adults is about 400 milligrams, which averages to about four cups of coffee at eight fluid ounces. A cup of Death Wish coffee would equal to about 472 milligrams of caffeine.

The company came to international attention after it received a free 30-second advertising spot during the 2016 Super Bowl. In January, it moved to a larger production facility to accommodate a nearly threefold increase in sales, according to the Albany Times Union.

• Laura Kelly can be reached at lkelly@washingtontimes.com.

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