Both international and domestic buyers have rejected a series of tea consignments due to the presence of pesticides and chemicals beyond permissible limits, Indian Tea Exporters Association (ITEA) chairman Anshuman Kanoria said on Friday.
Filling up the vacuum created by crisis-hit Sri Lanka in the global market, Tea Board is eyeing to ramp up exports. However, the rejection of consignments is causing a decline in outward shipments.
All teas sold in the country must conform to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) norms. However, most of the buyers are purchasing tea that have unusually high chemical content, Kanoria told PTI.
In 2021, India exported 195.90 million kg tea. The major buyers were Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations and Iran. The board is aiming to achieve 300 million kg tea this year.
Kanoria said that many countries are following strict entry regulations for tea. Most of the countries follow variations of the EU standards, which are more stringent than the FSSAI rules.
“Instead of complying with the law, many are urging the government to make the FSSAI norms more liberal,” he said, adding that this would send a wrong signal as the beverage is considered to be a health drink.
A senior official of Tea Board told PTI that complaints have been received from tea packers and exporters on the issue.
“It is reiterated that producers should strictly abide by the extant FSSAI norms. The issue of modification of the norms has been raised by the producers’ organisations with FSSAI. It is obvious that exports should adhere to the existing norms of the importing countries,” he said.
India exported tea worth ?5,246.89 crore in 2021.
••• See also, Opinion by Vir: Crisis faced by Indian tea, June 6, 2022, Hindustan Times