I recently bought a juice from the supermarket. That specific type of juice is probably produced in that supermarket locally. After trying it, I am reasonably confident that it contains soap.

For the sake of this question, let's assume that I am correct and the juice indeed contains reasonable traces of household chemicals (and I still have the bottle). What can I do in this case?

Of course I can bring this bottle to the supermarket, but this will probably achieve nothing (they will offer me some useless discounts or give me the new bottle for free, which is not my goal).

It looks like I can make a complaint with the FDA, but I am not sure how will it work.

  • "...which is not my goal". So, what is your goal? Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 11:53
  • @NateEldredge, the goal is to keep the supermarket accountable, not to get 5$ for the juice.
    – random
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 16:30
  • I posted an answer about what you can do if you want to involve the authorities. A food question: was there lavender in the juice?
    – Damila
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 18:41
  • Thank you @Damila. No, in case this is relevant, that was a coconut juice. Also my goal is not to get money, but to make sure situation like this will not happen in the future.
    – random
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 22:12
  • Local health department then. Ingredient question was trying to suss out if something in it made it taste like soap; coconut drinks taste like suntan lotion to me, but that is off topic of the law question.
    – Damila
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 3:04

2 Answers 2


An in-house made product is not regulated by the FDA.

FDA regulates all foods and food ingredients introduced into or offered for sale in interstate commerce, with the exception of meat, poultry, and certain processed egg products regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Examples of Food businesses NOT regulated by FDA:

Retail food establishments (i.e. grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and food trucks), which are regulated by state and local governments. Farmers markets

(Bolding added) From FDA

If your goal is to have the store looked at so they change their ways, you would have a better chance with the California Health Department. In this case, the grocery store is a retail food establishment*, like a cafe. I am taking your assumption as correct that the juice is being made in the store.

Retail Food Facilities (e.g. restaurants, food trucks, cafés, etc.) The local environmental health department (EHD) is responsible for the initial investigation of consumer complaints regarding foods served or sold at retail food facilities (e.g. restaurants, food trucks, cafés, etc.).

To file a consumer complaint regarding a retail food facility, click here to contact the EHD (PDF).

From California Public Health

If your goal is to "cash in", you are on your own.

*Edit: I mean that they are regulated like a cafe for the part of the store that makes and sells its own food.


The "how to report" page you have linked to includes the following note (emphasis mine):

For non-emergencies:

If you have questions, or want to talk with someone, call the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator who works with your state. Phone numbers are listed online.

I can't comment on how much information they would be able to provide, but calling the coordinator for your state will at least let you speak to someone at the FDA who may be able to explain what will happen.

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