There is a large body of scientific research examining the purported health benefits of tea, with the majority looking at green tea with its much higher levels of water-extractable polyphenols than black or oolong teas. Reported benefits include reduced risk of Alzheimer's and certain cancers, improved cardiovascular and oral health, as well as aiding in weight management.
California-based ChromaDex, which specializes in botanical reference standards and analytical tools, said its verification program covers several aspects of tea product verification. These include ensuring the identity of the raw tea product; testing for adulterants such as pesticides and heavy metals; and confirming the amount of antioxidants, including catechin, theaflavin and xanthine alkaloids and polyphenols, so manufacturers can be certain that the product they offer is exactly what they say it is.
CEO and co-founder of ChromaDex Frank Jaksch said: “There is a growing need for quality assurance in today’s tea market. The program ChromaDex has designed provides suppliers the assurance that the tea products they offer for sale meet the standards they have set for their products and gives consumers the confidence that the product they are purchasing is of the quality they expect.”
Undergoing the company’s verification program qualifies manufacturers to display the ChromaDex Verification Mark on their products.
According to a recent report from market research organization Frost & Sullivan, the global market for tea extracts is worth around $44m and it is expected to grow by a further 13 percent over the next seven years.
Green tea contains 30 to 40 percent water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains three to ten percent. Oolong tea is semi-fermented and its polyphenol content falls somewhere in the middle.