High Pesticide In Indian Tea Hampering Domestic And International Trade: Indian Tea Board
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Even though the British popularised tea and the tea-drinking culture in India, Indians today are hooked on to the beverage like nothing else. India is not only one of the largest consumers but also the producer of tea. However, the recent turn of events may have cast a pall on India’s status as one of the leading market players. In a bid to fill up the vacuum created by crisis-stricken Sri Lanka in the global market, Indian Tea Board is planning to send up more batches for exports. However, the rejection of several recent consignments is beginning to affect the Indian Tea Board’s plan to ramp up its sale abroad. The outbound shipments are delayed too for the same reason, leaving the Indian Tea Board in a precarious state. But what is wrong with these consignments? Why has tea export not been picked up as envisioned by the Tea Board?  

Chairman of the Indian Tea Exporters Association, Anshuman Kanoria, told PTI that the presence of pesticides and chemicals beyond permissible limits, is causing many delays in approval. All the tea meant for consumption and sale in the country must conform to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) norms Kanoria noted, adding that most of the tea buyers in India are purchasing tea with unusually high chemical content.  

This high percentage of pesticides and chemical content in tea has also led to traders rejecting several tea consignments from April to mid-May, reports suggest. The MRL in them was found to be higher than the limits set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) when the samples were tested in an independent laboratory.

Kanoria said that several countries have even stricter entry regulations for tea, so one has to be even more careful while sending consignments for export. Most countries adhere to the variations of EU standards that are notably more stringent than FSSAI rules, Kanoria noted expressing his concern about producers, who rather than following the law, are demanding FSSAI to ease up. It may also send out a wrong message to the world, since the beverage is traditionally considered to have many health benefits.  

The producer organisations are repeatedly raising issues in complying to the rules of FSSAI, but to eye a better place in the domestic as well as global market, producers would have to follow the existing FSSAI guidelines, the tea board says. In 2021 alone, India exported tea worth Rs 5,246.89 crore.

India's love affair with tea is best reflected in the many tea preparations around the country from the Kahwa of Kashmir or the lebu cha of Bengal. There are options galore. But one of the most widely consumed tea preparation around the country has to be the Masala Chai. There are many kinds of brands selling Masala chai, pick the tea brand you trust the best. Or make one with regular tea and we will tell you the masalas to use. Here's our favourite recipe you must try.