INDIA – The Tea Board of India has directed all tea manufacturing units to comply with norms stipulated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in a bid to boost tea quality.
The state agency has called on the manufacturers to get their end product tested in NABL-accredited labs (the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) to ensure high quality teas.
In a circular released by the board, tea manufacturers are mandated to get their tea tested twice in a year.
Small tea growers (STG), who are always criticized for low quality control of their produce, do not come under the purview of FSSAI as primary producers.
They are however, required to strictly follow FSSAI and Plant Protection Code (PPC) to ensure the tea they produce meet both local and international market standards.
“The test reports should also be submitted to the Board’s zonal office for our information…however, all manufacturing units (both estate factories and bought-leaf factories) are hereby informed that Tea Board Quality Control Laboratory has received NABL accreditation,” read the circular.
The agency revealed that the move is expected to ensure production of clean, pure and environment-friendly tea while ensuring customers of quality.
The directive was welcome by the Indian Tea Association (ITA), the premier tea producers’ body which claimed that all its member-producers have always complied with FSSAI testing norms.
It noted that the Tea Board’s initiative would make the buyers more confident about Indian tea by promoting quality.
The FSSAI test for the tea sector includes pesticide residue and heavy metal analysis.
According to a top Tea Board official, the circular is needed owing to the continuous revision of the FSSAI Act, 2006, and its amendments in 2018.
“As more chemicals and new parameters have been included under the FSSAI Act, our duty was to inform and educate the existing as well as new players in the tea production business,” said the Board official.
Tea Board said it is also organising a ‘Young Entrepreneurs’ Meet’ later this month to discuss the steps needed to be taken to bring quality produce to the market and discouraging the rampant production, sales, export and marketing of low-quality tea.