Dried flowers of Clitoria ternatea L.: a traditional food from third country with safety concerns according to EFSA

The dried flower of Clitoria ternatea L. is consumed in Asia, notably in India, Phillipines, Malaysia and Thailand. Following a notification from Sensient Technologies Europe GmbH (Germany) and Tsujiko Co., Ltd (Japan); EFSA has evaluated the safety of this traditional food.

EFSA notes the presence of cyclotides, small cyclic proteins, which have been reported to be associated with safety concerns. EFSA reports in vitro haemolytic and cytotoxic effects reported for some cyclotides present in the ingredient, as well as data which indicate possible effects on the immune system and on the uterus for one cyclotide not present. Furthermore, only limited data were provided on the digestibility, bioavailability, and toxicokinetics. Possible in vivo toxicological effects of cyclotides including some of those present in the traditional food are also highlighted.

Consequently, EFSA considers that the traditional food may pose a safety risk to human health. Thus, EFSA raises safety objections to the placing on the market within the EU of the traditional food.

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), 2022. Notification of dried flowers of Clitoria ternatea L. as a traditional food from a third country pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. EFSA supporting publication 2022:EN-7084.