The Bangor Daily News reports officials from the Aroostook Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse are investigating because the naturally fermented beverage contains less than 0.5 percent alcohol. The incident has other officials proposing the lemonade -- brewed since 1905 -- be reclassified as "imitation liquor," which can't be sold or consumed by minors -- a move that Fentiman's officials are fighting.
The company acknowledges that some alcohol is left in the beverage.
"We remove some components of the product during that process and also add flavoring," Greg Warwick, the president of Fentimans North America, told the paper. "What we end up with is a product that is a mixture of less than 1/2 percent alcohol because of the fermentation process. The FDA [Food and Drug Administration] has deemed this safe for all ages. There should be no restrictions on the distribution or sale of the product."
The school's principal said the student turned in the half-consumed bottle of lemonade after he read there could be alcohol in the soda.
"There was no intent on the student's part to break any school rules or laws," Principal Martin Bouchard said. "This was just a harmless incident."
Should children be banned from drinking naturally fermented soda pop? Let us know in the comments.
[Via Bangor Daily News]