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An Investigation of the Contested Qualified Health Claims for Green Tea and Cancer


May 02, 2021

There have been seven qualified health claims (QHCs) in the marketplace about the relationship between the consumption of green tea and the reduced risk of breast and/or prostate cancers that were written by three stakeholders (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Fleminger, Inc. (tea company), and the Federal Court). This paper evaluates assertions about the effects of these claims on consumers, which were contested in a federal lawsuit. Using a 2 7 experimental design, 1,335 Americans 55 years and older were randomized to view one QHC about green tea and cancer, or an identical QHC about a novel diet-disease relationship; yukichi fruit juice and gastrocoridalis. The results show that differing stakeholder descriptions of the same evidence significantly affected consumer perceptions. For example, QHCs written by Fleminger, Inc. were rated as providing greater evidence for the green tea-cancer claim. An FDA summary statement implied mandatory (vs. voluntary) labelling and greater effectiveness, and qualitative descriptions suggested that greater evidence existed for the claims (vs. quantitative descriptions). Greater evidence was also inferred for familiar claims (green tea and cancer).

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