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Check Out Line: Watch those health claims, FDA tells green tea sellers

September 7, 2010

Check out federal regulator’s warning to green tea sellers.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Unilever over their use of health claims to sell green tea products.

The agency, which regularly sends warning letters to companies that have violating manufacturing, marketing and testing requirements, took issue with Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s claim that its Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale is “enhanced with 200 mg of antioxidants from green tea and Vitamin C”. FDA said the statement did not comply with rules governing nutrient content claims.

In its letter to Unilever, FDA said the company violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with claims that consuming green tea, like its Lipton decaffeinated green tea, can help lower cholesterol.

“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’ … New drugs may not be legally marketed in the U.S. without prior approval from FDA,” the agency said.

FDA also took issue with the claim that the Lipton tea is a “rich source of” and “packed with” antioxidants — because no recommended daily intake has been established for flavonoid antioxidants.

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(Reuters Photo)


The claims on the FDA’s website establish that agency is “responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.” Examples over the years might tend to suggest that the FDA may not be “generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced purposes…”

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