Have you ever heard of botulinum? It’s a type of bacteria that can be found just about anywhere, including on the surfaces of fresh food. Usually this is no big deal, the microbe can’t reproduce in an oxygen rich environment. However, if it does find a place without air, then the botulinum can grow, multiply and produce a deadly toxin. Imagine the surprise of one company founder when he discovered that the cans of his aptly named Death Wish Coffee just happened to be just such an environment.
Is Death Wish Coffee as Dangerous as the Name Implies?
After winning a bid for a Super Bowl ad, business for New York-based Death Wish Coffee exploded. The company went from being carried by seven stores to 150, and its sales margin grew from $6 million to $10 million in less than a year. This has led to its nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee to becoming rather popular with sports fans, rockers and gamers, but now the company has run into a snag.
After several rounds of testing, scientists at Cornell discovered that the process for brewing the company’s “Nitro Brew” could actually foster the growth of botulinum bacteria. This meant that the product could actually contain botulin toxin, a deadly substance that can inhibit breathing and cause muscle paralysis.
What Is the Company Doing About Its Product?
Company founder Mike Brown immediately shutdown production and called for a recall of Death Wish Nitro Brew. Now the company is telling its customers to destroy any cans of the beverage they may have. The company says that even though the risk of botulism caused by Nitro Brew is small, the company doesn’t want to risk its customers’ health. Death Wish Coffee Co. is also offering refunds to anyone who may have bought the risky beverage. So far, there have been no reports of sickness.
In this instance, the company involved acted quickly once it discovered that its product might be dangerous, but this doesn’t happen in every case. In the GM switch ignition recall, the Takata recall and the Blue Bell ice cream recall, signs of danger were present and ignored. This is why product liability lawsuits are so important to consumer safety. It serves as a deterrent to keep companies from trying to hide the defects that could harm consumers. A lesson that Death Wish Coffee has taken to heart before its first crisis even had the chance to start.
A message brought to you by the product liability attorneys at Metier Law Firm.