Noni juice, from the fruit of the Morinda citrifolia L. plant was authorised for sale in the European Union under novel foods legislation, but reports from the Austrian authorities raised fears that in some cases it may lead to acute hepatitis. The European Commission asked EFSA to look into the reports.
The conclusion of EFSA's panel on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies (NDA) that "on the basis of the available information, it is unlikely that consumption of noni juice at the observed levels of intake induces adverse human liver effects" will be met with relief by Tahitian Noni, other companies marketing the juice, and loyal consumers.
However EFA strongly emphasised that it did not investigate or evaluate any possible health benefits associated with noni juice, nor look into the scientific validity of any health claims.
Noni juice is reputed to increase energy, reduce allergy symptoms and aid weight loss, but such claims have not been approved by regulatory authorities in the US or Europe.
In addition to looking at four case reports of severe hepatitis in people consuming noni juice, the NDA panel also looked at data from toxicity studies involving humans and animals.
Tahitian Noni did not supply EFSA with data on the number of people consuming the juice in Europe, but it said that 79 per cent of customers purchased four four litre bottes a month, equating to a daily intake of 133ml.