Green tea doesn't lower cancer risk, says F.D.A.

by Sarah Sosland
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ROCKVILLE, MD. — Under the Food and Drug Administration’s "Consumer Health for Better Nutrition Initiative," the agency is announcing the results of a review of qualified health claims that green tea may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Based on a systematic evaluation of the available scientific data, the F.D.A. intends to consider exercising its enforcement discretion for the following qualified health claims for breast and prostate cancer.

"Two studies do not show that drinking green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer in women, but one weaker, more limited study suggests that drinking green tea may reduce this risk," the F.D.A. said. "Based on these studies, F.D.A. concludes that it is highly unlikely that green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer."

The announcement also stated that, "One weak and limited study does not show that drinking green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer, but another weak and limited study suggests that drinking green tea may reduce this risk. Based on these studies, F.D.A. concludes that it is highly unlikely that green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer."

The F.D.A. also concluded that existing evidence does not support qualified health claims for green tea consumption and a reduced risk of any other type of cancer.

Guidance on qualified health claims for conventional foods and dietary supplements was issued by the F.D.A. in July 2003. The F.D.A. will continue to evaluate new information that becomes available to determine whether changes in these claims, or in the decision, are necessary.

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