Extremely polluted: Stiftung Warentest warns of chamomile tea
For years, experts have been calling on the suppliers of herbal teas to exercise greater care when growing and harvesting plants for making tea. But time and again attention is drawn to pollutants in teas. The Stiftung Warentest is currently warning of a chamomile tea that is contaminated with carcinogenic substances.
Herbal teas loaded with pollutants
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has been appealing to suppliers of herbal teas for some years now to exercise care when growing and harvesting plants for herbal tea and tea production. Nevertheless, there are always headlines like: Many herbal and peppermint teas contain plant poisons, carcinogenic plant poison found in organic baby tea, or: Black tea is often contaminated. The Stiftung Warentest is now warning of chamomile tea from the French brand Kusmi Tea. It found "extremely high levels of pollutants".
Carcinogenic pyrrolizidine alkaloids in chamomile tea
As the consumer advocates report on their website, the experts came across a chamomile tea that was extremely contaminated with pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) in the middle of the test phase for a test of herbal teas.
According to the information, the proven content of a total of 73.2 milligrams per kilogram of tea is so harmful to health that the testers are already warning - two months before the test is published - that this tea is being consumed.
Mutagenic and carcinogenic effects
“PA are secondary ingredients that plants make to ward off predators. They are undesirable in foods because they damage the liver and have shown mutagenic and carcinogenic effects in animal experiments, ”the BfR wrote in a statement.
“Herbal teas contaminated with PA, including rooibos tea, black and green tea and honey are the main sources through which consumers can ingest PA. The PA amounts contained in these foods can be health-threatening for both children and adults if they are taken in for a long time (chronically), ”it says.
"However, there is no acute health risk here." So far, there is no legal maximum level for pyrrolizidine coloids in food.
Affected tea should not be drunk
The testers found the carcinogenic pollutants in teabags of the "Kusmi Tea Camomille" brand with a best before date of 10/2019. The batch number of the cardboard packaging is: LOT 161031, the batch number of the tea bags: LOT: KUS163121.
The testers warn against drinking the tea from this batch. The tea bags had been examined for 28 different pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The content of a single tea bag was found to contain 161 micrograms of PA. That is 380 times the long-term daily intake for an adult, which is of little concern.
According to the distributor, the quantity found is harmless
The Stiftung Warentest has sent the analysis results to the distributor of the tea on the German market, the Orientis company in Kehl, Baden-Württemberg. The company has responded and is generally referring to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
According to this, “side effects in a person weighing 60 kg could only occur if the consumption of alkaloids is higher than 120 mg per day. The test results of the Stiftung Warentest, if confirmed, would therefore mean that a consumer would have to consume more than 1.6 kilograms of chamomile tea, about 730 cups, in order for a side effect to occur. ”
According to their own statements, consumer advocates cannot understand this argument. They base their warning on scientific recommendations. The affected batch should therefore actually not be sold at all. (ad)