Green tea(Camelia sinensis L. Kuntze) has been on EFSA spotlight due to Nordic countries concerns on the emergence of patients presenting liver damage, possibly caused by green tea extract consumption. These concerns concluded on a request from the European Commission, asking for a safety review of the ingredient.

Green tea is rich in a series of active compounds, most of which are catechins. The primary catechins are epicatechin (EC), epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC) and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is the major catechin found and therefore the main object of investigation due to the doses of EGCG founded in green tea extracts. EGCG consumption in tea ranges between 90 and 300 mg per day and may reach up to 866 mg, while 1000 mg EGCG/day can be ingested through food supplements.

EFSA established that at usual dosages, up to 300 mg, there is no safety concern and there are no problems associated to its consumption. However, it has been identified that doses equal or above 800 mg/day, taken as a food supplement, induce an increase of serum transaminases. Doses between 300-800 mg EGCG/day have only one hepatotoxicity case registered. Nonetheless, there are not enough scientific evidence to determine a safe EGCG dose in extracts.

With the information available, the EFSA suggests conducting studies to establish a dose-response of hepatotoxicity and therefore be able to adjust the recommended dose. It also recommends informing the consumer through the label of the catechins content and the proportion of EGCG.

The European Commission hasn’t stated any change in the regulation yet. However, it is matter of time since some news are issued about it.