A recent report in the February 2017 edition of the German consumer rights magazine ‘Öko-Test’ denouncing daily mate consumption due to health-risks comes to us as no surprise at all.
The benefits of drinking mate on a regular basis are extolled by health food & other gurus around the world. As more become conscious about their caffeine consumption and well being, searching for alternatives to coffee, the benefits that mate offers poses a serious threat to the elixir of the industrial revolution.
The magazine tested 14 brands of Mate available in the German market; most of these brands have been sold since over a decade and were in compliance with EU regulations when they entered the market.
Some years ago, Anthrachinon (anthraquinon) was added to the list of substances to be tested products such as tea and coffee and suddenly brands that were known for their high-quality health enriching infusions were classified as unfit for consumption / sale.
In 2014, the German Tee Association (Deutscher Tee Verband e.V.) pointed out a possible confusion between the chemical substance Anthrachinon and the natural derivative Anthrachinone (anthraquinone).
Anthrachinon is an active ingredient in a bird repellent that is not used in the mate growing region. Certain mates collected from organic certified plantations or forests greatly exceeded the maximum EU limits of 0,02mg/kg. Tea packaging products might contain traces of Anthrachinon which contaminates the herbs was an inference drawn from the Verband.
Anthrachinone, according to the Tee Verband is present in certain plants, which have been used for their healing properties since years. Since 2010 EU lawmakers supported by medical lobbyists have tried to regulate the marketing of natural healing herbs.
Currently no test exists to differentiate the natural Anthrachinone from the chemical Anthrachinon and our partners at EuroFins Laboratories confirmed that new and more precise methods would have to be developed as the chemical structures of the two are very similar.
In addition, present analytical techniques are not always reliable with sometimes varying results with regards to the Anthrachinon content in Mate. We submitted samples of many mates for testing over the years and have experience deviating results from the same lab with the same batch of mate. These variations could not be explained by the lab, however it was confirmed that there is still not enough information to draw quick conclusions.
One thing, however, is certain. IF the anthrachinon contained in mate is indeed a harmful chemical substance that arises due to high temperature drying processes, then, a hand collected from protected forests low temperature dried mate is safe.
In 2014, tests confirmed that Meta Mate Raw had absolutely no traces of anthrachinon.
Responding to questions from customers in 2012 regarding the harmful health effects of Mate consumptions and rumors related to cancer causing components, Meta Mate started to research these claims
In 2013 the Berlin parliament proposed an initiative to set an upper limit for PAH values for coffee, tea and mate. Anthrachinone is not found in coffee, however, other substances that could be classified as carcinogenic are found in numerous food products.
Recent studies have validated our findings that there is not enough conclusive evidence to indicate that the daily consumption of mate will land you in chemotherapy. A 2016 paper released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that there was ‘inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of drinking cold or warm mate’
This reinforces what we have been advising customers for a while, to care for the water temperature of their mate. Repeated consumption of a very hot liquid can result in oesophageal cancer; 65°C is considered very hot for a drink. When consumed in the traditional way with a large bomba, the mate water loses 5-10°C between being served and sipped. We are in the process of developing new accessories with our partners to facilitate temperature variations. However, for the moment we recommend a good thermometer or temperature controlled water cooker to ensure your water temperatures are between 65 & 72 °C
Since the very beginning, Meta Mate’s primary concern has been to create small and sustainable methods to produce high quality mates combining tradition with technology to enrich our drinkers. We are committed to providing consumers with all they need to know to take independently informed decisions
Meta Mate’s past reports on Mate & Cancer include:
Mate Cancer Controversy 2015: http://metamate.cc/yerba-mate-cancer-controversy/
Cancer Research Report 2013 http://metamate.cc/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Cancer-Research-Report.pdf
Tests to Analyze PAH content in Mate 2012 http://metamate.cc/support-cancer-research-project/