ORLANDO, Fla. — A local woman tried losing weight by drinking an over-the-counter diet tea. Instead, she lost her job and was fired after a drug test. She’s one of several women claiming that the tea contained a hidden drug, and there’s now a class-action lawsuit.
Belinda Granger is a nurse who swore by her healthy lifestyle, but still felt she needed to lose weight.
Granger said she heard about a diet tea. “A lot of my girlfriends were taking it. They were raving about it and losing weight.”
Raspberry Lemonade Iaso Tea is made by Total Life Changes, a Michigan company that sells supplements promoting weight loss and good health.
Granger said the tea worked so well that she became a distributor too.
“I was losing weight. I was working out. I was healthier,” Granger said.
She was offered a nursing job with a significant pay raise. But days before starting, her employer said she failed its routine drug test and that it would cost her the job.
“He told me the THC levels in my bloodstream were very high and I could be in organ failure,” Granger said.
THC is a chemical in marijuana that triggers the feeling of being high.
Granger felt betrayed because the tea’s packaging reads 0% THC, and she said she never used marijuana.
Granger said her emails to the company were never answered.
“I feel bamboozled. I feel embarrassed. I feel I have a knock to my integrity that I was so prideful of,” Granger said.
An investigation by Cox Media Group found Granger is far from alone. At least three other women who drank the same tea claim that they lost jobs after routine drug testing.
D’etta Friday was fired from her manufacturing job in North Carolina and blames Raspberry Lemonade Iaso Tea.
Friday said a company manager told her a drug test showed she had used marijuana. “I do not do drugs. They escorted me to HR and HR took my badge and I’m in tears.”
Friday is one of two plaintiffs suing Total Life Changes, claiming that they were fired for positive THC drug tests after using the tea.
The class-action lawsuit alleges negligent manufacturing and misrepresentation.
At an independent lab in Charlotte, our sister station had the tea tested for THC. Avazyme Inc. found a low amount but called it “exact and measurable.” The lab’s CEO said that the amount found in the tea could potentially cause someone to fail a drug test.
Total Life Changes was contacted about the lab results and the women’s claims. The company said it is aware of the allegations. It said it cares deeply about its customers and is committed to their well-being. The company added that it is learning relevant facts.
Total Life Changes has filed a motion to dismiss the class-action lawsuit. In recent days, Action 9 has not been able to find the tea for sale online.
“Don’t do it. It’s not worth your livelihood,” Granger said.
The FDA regulates diet supplements as food, not drugs. The agency warns that some supplements contain ingredients that can put your health at risk. So talk to your doctor first.