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FSSAI Reviews Tea Safety and Quality Standards

2023 Oct 08, 18:18, New delhi
Regulator FSSAI reviews safety and quality standards of tea (Images: ANI)

India's food safety regulator and the Tea Board have conducted a meeting with all the stakeholders, including the research associations and growers to review the widespread concern on its quality and safety.

The meeting was held in Kolkata on Saturday, according to a press release.

CEO, of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), G Kamala Vardhana Rao, during the course of the meeting, emphasized the responsibility of all the stakeholders towards ensuring the safety of tea. He briefed on the FSSAI regulations and highlighted that tea shall be free from "extraneous matter, added colouring matter and harmful substances".

Pesticides in tea shall not exceed the Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) prescribed in the guideline.

"The flavoured tea manufacturers shall register themselves with the Tea Board before marketing flavoured tea," said Rao.

The release said that the Tea Board in association with the food safety regulator FSSAI will devise a campaign calendar to create awareness on the compliance and quality control measures and strategies for pesticide management and to train and educate farmers and workers.

Recently, there have been news reports about the colouring of teas and about violation of maximum residue limits.

India, with a share of 11 per cent, is the fourth-largest tea exporter after China, Kenya, and Sri Lanka.

India as a whole contributes 23 per cent to the global tea output and employs around 1.2 million workers in the tea plantation sector. Just Assam produces nearly 700 million kg of tea annually and accounts for around half of India's overall tea production.

For several years now, India's tea industry has been struggling with issues such as rising production costs, relatively stagnant consumption, subdued prices and crop losses due to climate change. It also faces the challenge of finding a footing and holding its ground in a competitive global market.

The tea business is cost-intensive, with a sizable portion of the total investment being fixed cost.

The tea industry in India is expected to register an 8 per cent degrowth in revenue this financial year, led by a decline in exports, according to a recent Crisil Ratings report. Operating profitability is also expected to fall for the second year in a row, shedding 100 basis points (1 per cent is equal to 100 basis points) to 5 per cent, due to lower tea prices, it said.


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