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Unilever’s attention-enhancing black tea claim

2_Black-Tea-Banner-1Consumer goods giant Unilever has become the first company in the EU to receive a positive scientific opinion on a health claim for tea.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently issued a positive opinion on the company’s evidence that black tea improves attention.

“Some initial evidence suggested that black tea could improve attention, which is the ability to concentrate on, filter and utilise incoming sensory information,” said Dr Amelia Jarman, R&D director and lead scientist at Unilever. “So, we set out to generate the scientific evidence to confirm this.”

Throughout three studies, volunteers drank two to three servings of either black tea or coloured and tea-flavoured water on separate occasions. The volunteers, who undertook a series of tasks to measure attention before and after each serving, were tested on both accuracy and speed of their response.

Results consistently showed that after drinking black tea, the attention scores were higher. One of the studies demonstrated that the stronger the tea, the higher the attention scores.

“We are pleased to be one of the few companies to achieve this and we consider it a reward for our long years of extensive research in the benefits associated with drinking tea,” said Clive Gristwood, executive vice president R&D Foods & Refreshment at Unilever.

The EFSA published its public opinion that “owing to its caffeine content, black tea improves attention”, on 24 May 2018, which was followed by a 30-day period of consultation.

The European Commission will now review the EFSA opinion. If the application is granted, Unilever will have exclusive rights to use this health claim for a period of five years.

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