The Advertising Standards Authority has rapped the UK Tea Council for a poster that suggested drinking four cups of tea as a part of a healthy diet.
The council claimed that the beverage has abundant antioxidants that are found in vegetables and fruits. "Five portions of fruit and veg plus four cups of tea. It all adds up to a healthy diet," the BBC quoted the poster, as saying.
An independent expert told the ASA that the evidence about tea's benefits is 'promising but inconclusive'. The expert also said that though there is evidence that tea may protect against cancer and heart disease, the results have to be confirmed in trials on humans.
However, the ASA said that there was no 'evidence' to support the claim,, and that the ad is bound to mislead people into thinking that the campaign is a part of the government's health initiative.
The council said tea has plant-derived antioxidants called flavonoids, and that research has proved that it has health benefits. It also insisted that the ad did not suggest that tea could be a substitute for fruits and vegetables.
"We provided the ASA with almost 100 independent scientific research papers and yet they still turned us down despite acknowledging that the antioxidants in tea are absorbed into the body," William Gorman, UK Tea Council executive chairman, said.
"Many of the papers we presented used the same methodology to show that fruit and veg are good for you, but the ASA effectively told us we'd have had to run clinical trials, normally reserved for medical drugs," Gorman added.