Chemical Plastic

May 11, 2012

Take a cup of Tea will be Poisoned yet?


On Wednesday, a report from Greenpeace outlined the pesticides - including carcinogenic and banned chemicals - found in 18 Chinese teas, including some of the country’s best-known brands.

Tea may have a long history in China but it has hardly been exempt from the food safety scandals that have plagued the country in recent years.

“You don’t know how many people - and for how long - have unknowingly been drinking toxic pesticides in their tea,” Wang Jing, a food and agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace, said in a statement.

According to the report, 14 out of the 18 teas tested contain pesticides that may affect fertility, harm an unborn child or cause genetic damage.

The report is just the latest in a string of food safety scandals to hit China’s tea sector. Last fall Unilever recalled a batch of Lipton’s “Iron Buddha” tea because it contained excessive levels of rare earths.

An earlier government check of oolong tea brands had found that 19 out of 58 brands tested failed to meet standards, including Lipton’s “Iron Buddha”.

The Greenpeace report found that even some of the most famous and expensive teas sold under brands like Wuyutai, Tenfu and Eight Horses, contained pesticides that are banned in China. One tea, Richun’s Iron Buddha No. 803, was found to contain 17 different kind of pesticides.

Beijing’s efforts to tackle the food safety problem have so far been piecemeal and overuse of pesticides is common in Chinese farming. Judging from the progress so far, it may be a while yet before China’s tea aficionados can drink easy.

Originally posted: Chemical Plastic

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