BREAKING NEWS: Minnesota Blood Alcohol Tests Potentially Compromised Due To Faulty Equipment

Posted On June 13, 2019 Charles Ramsay

We just received word that the manufacturer for Minnesota's blood alcohol testing kits issued a massive recall for the type of blood testing kit used in Minnesota. This recall affects blood alcohol testing kits from August of 2018 through the present day -- up to 9 months of potentially flawed blood tests. 

Becton, Dickinson and Company (known as "BD") is a major medical supplier across the world, and are responsible for supplying the blood testing kits to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Yesterday, they sent out a notice informing their customers that a manufacturing error resulted in lab kits being sent out without the necessary preservative included in the vials. 

That missing preservative is arguably the key scientific safeguard when it comes to blood alcohol testing. It's designed to prevent alcohol fermentation in the sample -- and even the possibility of fermentation renders the sample completely unsuitable for use in court. We routinely see samples that have spent long, hot days in the trunk of a police officer's squad car, or stored on a shelf for days before being mailed to the BCA (where it likely spent additional days sitting in a series of mail trucks and/or on a series of loading docks, fermenting the whole time). 

In this recall notice, the manufacturer warns that "once blood is collected in the tubes, the clinician will be unable to determine if the tube contains additive or not." Long story short -- there is no good, scientifically sound way to determine whether or not any given blood sample is compromised by this manufacturing error. 

The magnitude of this problem really can't be understated -- there is the potential for thousands of compromised blood tests being thrown out of court due to this mistake. If you, or someone you know, submitted to a blood test to determine your alcohol concentration at any point since August 31, 2018, you need to contact our office. The blood test results the State is trying to use against you may have been little more than a fermented and faulty blood sample, with no bearing on any actual alcohol concentration at the time of driving. 

You can read the full recall notice here.