Fort Myers man claims mold in popular iced tea brand, made him sick
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Retired Chicago dentist Douglas Haskell used to regularly drink Arizona Diet Green Tea with Ginseng. But never expected to see mold in it.
"I'm concerned that i pass away prematurely," said Haskill, who retired in Fort Myers.
Mold he says he found in a bottle that his wife bought at a nearby Publix.
"It formed kind of a web and gelatin balls," explained Haskill, who compared what he saw to hand cream.
He says after drinking the tea five months ago, he suddenly felt ill.
"Severe bloating and then 10 days later, i developed respiratory, pulmonary problems," he described.
Haskill saved the iced tea and sent samples of it to Q-Lab, a laboratory recommended by the Arizona company. He saved the rest in jars at home.
"I feel frightened," said Haskill. "I feel angry."
Lab results show this was in fact Acremonium. It's a fungus from dead plants and soil, which some experts say could be toxic.
"I feel as if i have been shunned," added Haskill.
To make things worse, Haskill says the company offered him $500 to go away.
"Do you think it's a fair offer?" asked Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann. "No, absolutely not," he replied.
So, Fox 4 called Arizona to find out what it had to say. Despite calling six times, the company never responded. Frustrating Haskill, who says the drink and experience with Arizona is leaving a bad taste in his mouth.
"Standards from Arizona iced tea and their affiliates were abysmal," said Haskill.
Haskill says he wants a better explanation from Arizona. He wants the slides back and detailed lab results for his medical records in case he gets sick again. We'll stay on top of this and let you know how Arizona responds.