In what is reportedly considered a significant step forward in European  Union botanical regulation, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that the herb ephedra and its extracts are unsafe for use in food supplements. Noting that (i) the use of ephedra and its preparations in food supplements may result in exposure to total ephedra alkaloids or ephedrine that exceeds therapeutic dose ranges in medicinal products, and (ii) such exposure could lead to severe adverse effects, which may be enhanced when combined with caffeine, EFSA’s Food Additives and Nutrient Sources (ANS) Panel has determined that ephedra and its preparations containing ephedra alkaloids used as food supplements pose “significant safety concern at the estimated use levels.” According to a news source, the move represents “real progress” in the Panel’s herbal-safety assessment methodologies, referring to the so-called “yohimbe non-opinion” where the agency stated that it could not determine the safety of the supposedly aphrodisiac herb. Referring to the “long, well-reasoned and well-researched opinion,” the source indicated that EFSA has now shown that it can apply its botanical methodology in a way that is “meaningful for regulators and consumers.” See Nutra-Ingredients.com, December 2, 2013.