In a surprising but ultimately foreseeable turn of events, Death Wish Coffee, an upstate New York coffee company that claims to produce the "World's Strongest Coffee," has recalled one of its products because, well, it might actually kill you.
In a release issued on Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that an outside authority has determined that the current process used in the production of the company's 11-ounce Death Wish Nitro Cold Brew cans could lead to "the growth and production of the deadly toxin, botulin."
What is botulin, you ask? It's a bacteria that can lead to botulism, a condition with serious, sometimes even fatal consequences. According to the FDA:
Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distention and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.
No illnesses related to Death Wish Nitro have been reported yet, and the company has posted a voluntarily recall of the product as a precautionary matter.
"Our customers’ safety is of paramount importance and Death Wish Coffee is taking this significant, proactive step to ensure that the highest quality, safest, and of course, strongest coffee products we produce are of industry-exceeding standards – thus we are taking this measure of recalling all Death Wish Nitro Cold Brew cans from shelves," said Mike Brown, the founder and owner of Death Wish Coffee. "We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause our customers and our retail partners, but we believe this is the right precautionary measure to take.”
He added, "We have also gone a step further, to make sure that everyone who purchased the product on deathwishcoffee.com will receive a full refund within 60 days. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause our customers and our retail partners, but we believe this is the right precautionary measure to take.”
Before it was a serious health risk, Death Wish Coffee gained national attention when it ran a Super Bowl ad in 2016, in which a bunch of dirty vikings are rowing and growling while the Queen Bee viking shouts things like "The day of reckoning is upon us!" and "My brothers — what is life, if not to die?!" and other super dramatic pronouncements that got Super Bowl viewers jazzed to buy whatever these angry (and probably, deep down, sad and isolated) vikings were selling.
The death wish you supposedly have when drinking their coffee wasn't initially related to botulism, but to their coffee's high caffeine content, which is better, I guess. While a typical 12-ounce cup of coffee contains 12 to 16 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce, a cup of Death Wish contains 59 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce.
As for what coffee with such a high caffeine content tastes like, reviews are mixed. Amy Keating, R.D., a dietitian for Consumer Reports found that “overall our tasters found Death Wish to be strong and bold, but somewhat bitter. It’s fairly similar to some of the other dark roast coffees we’ve tasted in our previous tests.”
If you are an angry viking and/or a Death Wish Coffee superfan, you can return your Death Wish Nitro Cold Brew for a full refund within the next two months. And if you are concerned that you may have contracted botulism, contact a doctor immediately.
In the meantime, it might be a good idea to stick to less aggressive coffees for the time being, like, say, ones that don't have the word "death" in the name.