Herbal teas have been added to the ever-increasing list of products featuring misleading labels. According to a study conducted by a group of New York City high school students, herbal teas frequently contain ingredients such as weeds, ferns or bits of trees, all of which go unlisted on the products' labels.
Students Catherine Gamble, Rohan Kirpekar and Grace Young, of Trinity School in Manhattan, teamed up with scientists at the Rockefeller University, an ethno-botanist at Tufts University and a molecular botany expert at The New York Botanical Garden to conduct the study. Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
According to one of the researchers, one-third of herbal teas contain unlisted ingredients.
"After water, tea and its many herbal variations represent the world's most popular beverage by far," said Gamble. "Literally billions of cups are consumed every day, more than all the coffee, pop and every other drink combined. What's in those little bags of tea and herbal tea products is a matter of interest to billions of people."
Food product labels are frequently misleading. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently called on meat manufacturers to launch clearer labeling for products containing additives, because the labels frequently