The FDA, Green tea, Cancer

Waking through the information about tea and health is at best murky and confusing. What tea is good for your health and why?

There is so much research out there that a full time researcher would be necessary to sort through it all. The FDA recently refused a request to issue a “Qualified health claim” to label packages of green tea as saying that green tea can help to prevent certain cancers. So does that meant that green tea doesn’t help to prevent certain cancers. Well, no, it doesn’t mean that at all. If you are a research nut and have the patients to wade through what the FDA has posted on their website, you might be surprised by the information there about tea and health. In fact if you go back a bit and look at the history of some of the FDA’s decisions regarding labeling and the bizarre statements that have been made on some of the labels that they have not challenged, you might wonder, “Hey, just what the heck is the FDA’s position on tea and health?” The FDA went out of it’s way to issue a press release that implied that Americans were wasting their money buying green tea for health reasons based on the available research. But is that so? The LA Times reported it this way and we mentioned it here at the blog. Then what happens next, the story is echoed around the world, other papers reprinting the story with their own spin, until the Toronto Star comes up with this headline, “Health fix or fraud: Tea stirs up debate”. Begins to start to sound a little bit like the debates about global warming and evolution. Could it be that the FDA is part of the governments war on science, in the pocket of the pharmaceutical companies? Could our favorite beverage be a target? ‘Inside the FDA’s brain—FDA attacks efficacy of green tea’ talks about the FDA’s process. There is even a bill to force the FDA to be forth coming in it’s disclosures. The Bill is Consumers’ Access to Health Information Act (H.R. 2352) (7)—seeks to amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to ensure that:

1. Accurate health claims are not suppressed;

2. Consumers are given truthful and complete information about the curative, mitigation, treatment, and prevention effects of foods and dietary supplements on disease or health-related conditions;

3. The FDA honors the intent of the Congress not to censor accurate health claims.

Lets hope it passes. As for me, I drink tea because I enjoy it first, and I have always thought that the health benefits is icing on the cake.