FDA Warns Green Tea Makers about Health Claims

The makers of two brands of green tea drinks received warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about their unauthorized claims regarding the nutritional value of its products.

A warning letter dated August 23 went to Unilever, Inc. about its Lipton Green Tea 100% Naturally Decaffeinated, saying that claims about the tea’s antioxidant content and linking of green tea to lower cholesterol makes the tea a drug and subject to proof of safety and effectiveness. The letter goes on to say, “The therapeutic claims on your website establish that the product is a drug because it is intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Your Lipton Green Tea 100% Natural Naturally Decaffeinated product is not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced uses and, therefore, the product is a new drug…”

The August 30 warning to Dr Pepper Snapple Group, makers of Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale, said the carbonated drink is classified as a snack food and does not meet federal requirements to carry the claim that it is “enhanced with 200 mg of antioxidants from green tea and vitamin C” and that the ingredients are “not nutrients with recognized antioxidant activity.”

A recent post on LiveScience suggested that home-brewed green or black tea contains more antioxidants than store-bought bottled teas — some containing amounts so tiny that you would have to drink 20 bottles to get the antioxidants equal to one cup of tea. Store-bought bottled teas also may contain large amounts of sugar.

According the LA Times, the letters are the latest in a series of warnings about nutritional claims by food makers and part of an FDA campaign to improve food labeling. Companies that receive warning letters are 15 days to respond with a plan for correction the errors.

The FDA is rightly concerned about the health claims of store-bought bottled tea, but don’t get the wrong idea — tea is still good for you.

The Real Health Benefits of Green Tea
Store-bought bottled teas aside, the Harvard Women’s Health Watch says that drinking green tea is healthy, largely due to its high content of flavonoids. Studies have linked drinking green tea with reduced risk for some cancers and heart disease.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) looked at research on stroke and tea consumption and suggested that three cups of green or black tea a day could reduce the risk of ischemic stroke by 20 percent.

In countries where green-tea drinking is common, three cups per day is normal. The best way to get the health benefits of tea is to drink it freshly brewed. Enjoy!

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Photo: photoxpress.com


Terry Fox
Terry Fox5 years ago

The FDA is evil. They are afraid that if people find out that many foods especailly organic foods, contains illness prevention properties, there will be less people buying drugs from BIG PHARMACEUTICALS. And the FDA won't be able to collect their share of the profits. All FDA is worried about is making money from BIG PHARMACEUTICALS Profits. And if there are healthy foods information, then they will be losing money. The FDA is only out there to push pharmaceutical drugs. Because if you take notice that a lot of the drugs that have been approved by the FDA, some are now being recalled and are labled as unsafe? And when you see these FDA approved drugs on TV, they have so many side effects. Why would any sane person buy these so call "safe" drugs just to make them sick in a another way? Then you have to take another drug to fix that problem that the first drug caused. But now that new drug also has a side effect that will require you to take another drug to fix the problem of the 2nd drug. And the cycle continues until you are required to take 12 to 20 different drugs. Now you are paying alot of money just for prescriptions to fix illnesses you've never had before until you took medication that were prescibed to you. We all know that the benifits of Oranges have vitamin C that can cure scurvy. But if an Orange company puts on their web site that "Oranges can cure and prevent scurvy" The FDA will be up in arms telling the Orange companies to stop, because they are promoting unte

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Noted. Thanks for the article.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mervi R.
Mervi R7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Leah Crowell
Leah Crowell7 years ago

I don't believe any thing the FDA has to say they only seem to want to help large pharmeceutical companies. They approve drugs that two to ten years later are found to cause death or some life long ailment. They love their chemicals and seem to hate and protest anything natural.

Edward M.
Edward M7 years ago

It may be an idea for these Green Tea importers to make a substantial donation towards the running of the FDA?

Diana S.
Diana S7 years ago

In the last year I have began drinking green tea daily, usually store brought. The stomach issues I was having are gone even though I enjoy spicy foods very much. I feel better, have more energy, and at 56 believe it has greatly improved my overall health. Due I'm sure by the decrease in soda consumption as well. I don't care who believes what. I just know it has helped me feel better and I sing the praises of its benefits to all who care to know. I really wish I had started years ago.

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

I drink the green tea that's imported FROM Japan. It's the best. I love it.

Vicky L.
Vicky L7 years ago

Everyone knows benefits of green tea anyway, why keep marketing it? Or maybe people are increasingly suspicious of processed foods, that those key ingredients have been removed (along with caffeine in this instance). Noone sticks 'antioxidant, vit C' labels on fresh oranges and tomatoes, unless they're processed.

Jeff B.
Jeff B7 years ago

FDA can be bought off (just ask BIG may-cause-side-effects Pharma). I'm surprised these 2 large corporations haven't paid up.