FDA warns Unilever and Dr Pepper on Green Tea wording

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Food and Drug Administration has warned beverage makers Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc DPS.N and Unilever ULVR.L for making improper statements regarding green tea on product labels and web sites.

In a letter dated August 30 and released on Tuesday, the regulator said Dr Pepper’s Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale was misbranded because the product label improperly used the word “enhanced” relating to antioxidants from green tea.

In a letter dated August 23 and released on Tuesday, the FDA said Unilever improperly promoted a Lipton green tea product with wording that makes it a drug under federal regulations. The promotion cited studies showing that tea lowers cholesterol.

“The therapeutic claims on your web site establish that the product is a drug because it is intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease,” the FDA said.

It also said Lipton made unauthorized nutrient claims for the tea.

Spokesmen for the two beverage companies could not be reached for comment.

Reporting by Brad Dorfman; editing by John Wallace