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Stiftung Warentest: Only every second herbal tea is convincing
Many who pour themselves a cup of tea want to relax with it and hope for a positive effect on health. However, not every tea is recommended. The Stiftung Warentest found in an investigation that many herbal teas are contaminated. Only around every second product has convinced the reviewers.
Herbal teas loaded with pollutants
For years, experts have been calling on the suppliers of herbal teas to exercise care when growing and harvesting plants for the production of herbal teas and teas. 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. And a recent study by the Stiftung Warentest showed that many herbal teas are not recommended due to the strain.
The most popular varieties of the Germans
Peppermint, fennel, chamomile or colorful blends - these herbal teas are what Germans drink the most, according to Stiftung Warentest.
The experts have now tested a total of 64 teas of the four varieties for pollutants and found that almost all fennel teas and many peppermint teas have no pollutants and are recommended, while harmful substances were often found in chamomile teas and herbal blends.
According to the testers, a total of six teas could only be rated as “sufficient”.
The chamomile tea from Kusmi Tea even scores “poor”. The provider removed the affected batch from the market after the test results became known.
The detailed test of herbal tea appears in the April issue of the magazine "test" (from March 30th, 2017) and is available at "www.test.de/kraeutertee" for a fee.
How the pollutants get into the tea
According to the examiners, the pyrrolizidine alkaloids, or PA for short, were the most questionable finds. Chamomile tea and herbal tea blends were particularly contaminated.
The "test" editor Ina Bockholt explained in a message how the pollutants get into the teas:
“Wild herbs also grow in fields where tea plants grow. Some, like ragwort and ragwort, contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). Tea herbs are mostly harvested by machine. Other plants are also mown. Chamomile with its fine, yellow flowers has a particularly high risk of missing critical wild herbs. ”
Mutagenic and carcinogenic effects
“PA are secondary ingredients that plants make to ward off predators. They are undesirable in food because they damage the liver and have shown mutagenic and carcinogenic effects in animal experiments, ”wrote the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) 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 harmful to health for both children and adults if they are consumed for a long time (chronically), ”it continues.
"However, there is no acute health risk here." So far, there is no legal maximum level for pyrrolizidine coloids in food.
But even if there is no acute danger from contaminated teas, regular drinking increases the risk of tumors and liver damage, writes the Stiftung Warentest.
Extremely contaminated tea was withdrawn from the market
When the Kusmi Tea Chamomille with an extremely high PA content was noticed during the test phase at the beginning of the year, the testers immediately informed the public, the food inspector and the supplier, who then recalled the batch from the market.
According to the examiners, the levels of PA in the chamomile teas of Teapot, Pukka and the “Westminster Tea Chamomile” from Aldi (North) were increased.
The Stiftung Warentest also found similar PA loads in two herbal tea blends, the "Kings’s Crown Herbal Symphony" by Rossmann and the "8 Herbs" by Teekanne. Real's “Tip Peppermint Tea” also contains a relatively high amount of PA.
The testers also have good news: fennel tea, which is often given to babies to drink, scored "very good" in the pollutant check. Only Marco Polo's fennel tea was only "satisfactory" because of its pesticide content. (ad)