NEW DELHI: The government today rejected the findings of a global NGO Greenpeace, saying that Indian tea is totally safe and the industry follows high standards.
“The Tea Board of India having reviewed the findings of the Greenpeace study can confirm that all the samples tested comply with the Indian laws and regulations, designed to protect consumers. Indian teas are well regarded the world over and are totally safe following stringent standards,” an official statement said.
According to reports, Greenpeace India in its report ‘Trouble Brewing’ has revealed the presence of pesticides in Indian tea. The samples have tested positive for a hazardous pesticide – Monocrotophos.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her tweet said that Indian teas meet the highest standards of safety.
The statement said that the Tea Board would like to dispel any misconceptions about Indian tea in the eyes of consumers at large.
“The Indian tea industry led by the Tea Board of India has been constantly taking steps to make tea cultivation even more sustainable and reduce reliance on synthetic plant protection products to ensure that Indian tea continues to meet the high standards consumers expect,” it said.
The steps include launch of trustea, an initiative which will have certified at least 50 million kilograms of tea by December 2014.
The Board is open to collaborating with all stakeholders to help make tea production in India more sustainable in the long run, it said adding it was in this vein that Tea Board organized a seminar for Greenpeace to interact with the small growers in the tea sector recently.
India is the world’s second largest tea producer after China. India’s tea production in 2013-14 increased by about 8 per cent to 1,224.48 million kg on account of higher output in Assam and West Bengal.
Assam and West Bengal are the major tea-producing states, accounting for 80 per cent of India’s total output. Tea production in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka was up 13 per cent at 244.47 million kg.