ECGC is one of the four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves, along with epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC). The ingredient has long been available for use in dietary supplements and the list of potential health benefits include weight management, improving cardiovascular and oral health, and potentially reducing the risk of Alzheimer's and certain cancers.
Plaintiff Jennifer Wooding alleges that: “This is a consumer rights class action lawsuit about Defendants’ false and misleading advertising of energy drinks containing an extremely dangerous and potentially lethal ingredient epigallocatechin-3-gallate (“EGCG”).”
The plaintiff alleges: “Despite the overwhelming publicity, regulatory action and medical literature on the toxicity of green tea extracts – specifically EGCG – going back more than a decade, on information and belief, at no time did Defendents undertake a review of the medical literature before deciding to put EGCG into SUBJECT PRODUCTS.
“Nor did Defendants make any attempt whatsoever to warn consumers, including Plaintiff and the Class, that an ingredient of SUBJECT PRODUCT, EGCG, is a known liver toxin, that the product could case adverse side effects, that persons with known liver conditions should not use the product, and that the product should not be used in conjunction with or shortly after drinking alcohol.”
Bread and water
Commenting on the lawsuit, Justin Prochnow, shareholder at lawfirm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, said: "In my brief review of the complaint, it appears that the plaintiff’s lawyers attempt to link 13 cases of livery injury (livery? Injuries occurring in a stable) that occurred in France and Spain allegedly from a product containing green tea extract and the problems with Hydroxycut, of which EGCG was one of many ingredients, with their claims that EGCG is a dangerous and potentially lethal ingredient.
"This one will certainly be one to keep an eye on…because if green tea is really a dangerous and deadly ingredient, we might be back to water and bread," he added.