EFSA rejects Unilever black tea health claim

24 Jan 2018

The EFSA Panel concluded that a cause and effect relationship had not been established between the consumption of black tea and maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation.

EFSA rejects Unilever black tea health claim

Following an application from Unilever, the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to black tea and maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation.

The scope of the application was proposed to fall under a health claim based on newly developed scientific evidence.

The food proposed by Unilever as the subject of the health claim was black tea beverages, either freshly prepared or reconstituted from water extract powders of black tea, characterised by the content of flavanols (expressed as catechins plus theaflavins) of at least 30 mg per 200 mL serving.

The Panel considered that black tea characterised by the content of flavanols (expressed as catechins plus theaflavins) is sufficiently characterised.

The claimed effect proposed by Unilever was ‘improvement of endothelium-dependent vasodilation’. The Panel considered that maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation is a beneficial physiological effect.

Of the five human intervention studies provided on the chronic effect of black tea consumption on endothelium-dependent vasodilation, two investigated the effect after regular consumption of black tea for a sufficiently long time period (i.e. at least 4 weeks).

These two studies did not allow an effect of black tea on endothelium-dependent vasodilation to be established. The Panel therefore concluded that a cause and effect relationship had not been established between the consumption of black tea and maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation.