Guayusa Leaf

Last updated:
28 June 2017
June 2017: A consortium of companies from Ikiam University in Ecuador is requesting an opinion from the Food Standards Agency on the "equivalence" of its Guayusa leaves, which are grown in particular regions of South America, to Yerba mate leaf. Yerba mate leaf has a history of food use in the European Union and is similarly grown in South America. Under Evaluation.

Guayusa is a tropical tree native to the northwestern Amazon region across Ecuador, Columbia and Peru. Guayusa is a species of the holly tree family. Consumption is widespread across many South American countries in addition to also having been consumed for thousands of years in South America. However the leaves have not been consumed to a significant degree in Europe.

The applicant's Guayusa leaf will be used in the same products as Yerba mate leaf, which is in tea. It is intended to be consumed and marketed in exactly the same way as the very common green, white or black teas or herbal teas such as yerba mate.

Regulation (EC) 258/97 makes provision for novel foods or ingredients that are substantially equivalent to an existing product to be placed on the market once the applicant has informed the European Commission. In all cases to date, the Commission has required that the applicant first obtains an opinion on substantial equivalence from a Member State. The consortium of companies from Ikiam University has requested such an opinion from the UK Competent Authority on the equivalence of its Guayusa leaf to Yerba mate which has been on the market in the European Union prior to 15 May 1997. 

On 23 June 2016 the EU referendum took place and  the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The Government, under the Prime Minister, has begun negotiations to exit the EU. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation and funding in future once the UK has left the EU.

Any comments on this application should be emailed to the ACNFP Secretariat at by 19 July 2017. The comments will be passed to the Committee to inform its assessment of this novel food ingredient.

All views/comments received by the Food Standards Agency will be made available for public examination as part of the Committees consideration of the application. If you would prefer your comments not to be made publicly available, please indicate this in your response