EFSA has assessed the safety of green tea catechins
from dietary sources, following concerns regarding
their possible harmful effects on the liver and
concluded that catechins from green tea infusions
and similar drinks are generally safe but when taken
as food supplements, catechin doses at or above 800
mg/day may pose health concerns.
Green tea is widely consumed for its purported
health benefits, but there have also been reports in
the EU and beyond of possible harmful effects.
EFSA’s assessment of green tea catechins was
triggered by concerns from Nordic countries
following reported cases of liver damage possibly
associated with the use of green tea products.
Catechins are substances naturally present in green
tea, the most abundant of which is epigallocatechin
In its safety assessment, EFSA looked at possible
links between the consumption of EGCG in green tea
infusions and food supplements and liver damage.
For green tea infusions, EFSA’s experts concluded
that the few cases of liver damage reported in
humans are likely due to rare and unpredictable
Experts therefore considered catechins from green
tea infusions brewed with hot water, and instant and
ready-to-drink green tea beverages with similar
catechin content, as generally safe.
For food supplements, EFSA’s experts concluded – on
the basis of human studies conducted with volunteers
under medical supervision – that doses of EGCG at
800 mg/day may be associated with initial signs of
While there was no indication of liver injury for
doses below 800 mg/day from green tea supplements,
experts were unable to identify a safe dose based on
Food supplements containing green tea catechins
provide a daily EGCG intake ranging from 5-1000 mg.
These food supplements are generally intended for
The average daily intake of EGCG resulting from the
consumption of traditional green tea infusions
ranges between 90 and 300 mg, but may reach up to
866 mg in adults who consume large quantities of
Infusions tend to be consumed together with food and
spread throughout the day, while supplements,
especially for slimming, are more likely to be taken
in a fasting state and as a single daily dose.
To improve consumer protection, EFSA has recommended
that further studies on the effects of green tea
catechins be carried out.
Experts also proposed clearer labelling of green tea
products (in particular food supplements) regarding
catechin content and their possible health risks.
EFSA’s advice is now being forwarded to the European
Commission, which will decide on the most
appropriate risk management follow-up.
Green Tea Reduces Plasma Concentrations of Nadolol
NIH Study shows caffeine consumption linked to
estrogen changes (31/01/2012)
For more information
European Food Safety Authority - efsa