Tea caught up in quality scandal

Recently, one after another, tea industry has caught up in many “quality scandal”. After this year’s “3·15” consumer rights day, there are several famous Fujian Black Tea brands have been tested that they have been tainted with banned pesticide or food additives, including “Tianfu”, “Tongmuguan” are on the black lists. In Shantou Guangdong, some sellers are selling essence tea. The spring tea is getting on the market, the popular cheap tea sells on the internet might have some quality concerns.

“Tianfu” and other famous Fujian black tea on the black list.

People with experience know that colorful mushroom might be poisoned, which should not be eaten. However, when you face good looking tea, will you be able to tell which contains poisoned substance?

Right before the “3·15” of 2006, Fujian Food and Drug Administration has released the first safety inspection results, in batch number 3053 samples of “Tea, and relative products, coffee”, finding 94 samples do not meet the standard, including the well-known tea brands such as “Tianfu” “Fufang”, “Tongmuguan” and others.

The inspections find the products that do not meet the safety standards have issues with pesticide residue (bifenthrin), which has detected banned pesticides (fenvalerate, glyphosate, dicofol), food additives (tartrazine, sunset yellow and carmine), microbial number exceeds (total bacterial count, coliform bacteria) and so on.

According to the research, “glyphosate”, also known as “Roundup”, it is an herbicide developed by Monsanto in the United States, over consumption of which will damage the health of human beings. It will cause damages to liver, kidney, mucosal (gastrointestinal tract, skin), nerve damage, respiratory and cardiovascular system. It may even be life-threatening. “Fenvalerate” is a medium level poison to human beings. Short-term exposure with “Dicofol” will irritate eyes and skills, and affect the nervous system, liver and kidney functions. After inhaling, it will cause delusion, convulsions, cough, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, disorientation and abdominal pain, diarrhea, prolonged or repeated dermatitis.

Tartrazine, Sunset yellow, carmine, and other food additives can also cause damage and harm to liver function and intelligence.

Illegal sellers sell essence tea

At the evening of March 20th, Nanfang TV exposed the illegal tea market in the “3.15 series investigation reports”, some of the illegal sellers sell essence tea, which has caused wide concerns.

Journalist has bought several kilogram of tea samples at several stores in the tea market and verified with two tea experts. It turns out essence tea has been found among the samples.

Guangzhou Tea Culture Research Institution Researcher Zheng Huifeng says some sellers add essence to make the tea smells better and help to sell the low-quality tea at a better price.

To further investigate the situation, the journalists have visited several food additive stores in Guangdong. Once the owner heard that the journalists are doing tea business. They promise that their specialty is tea essences, and they can provide whatever flavor we need. Later, owners have recommended several flavor and taught the journalists how to add the essence into the tea.

Afterward, the journalists visited another chemical food stores. The owner heard that the journalist is selling teas, and he does not feel surprised and immediately recommended the sweet-scented osmanthus essence. Also, he has recommended one caramel pigment for coloring the black tea.

The journalist has learned that currently China does not have clear regulations prohibiting the use of additive and essence in tea. However, according to the national food safety standards, if you add essence in the products, you should indicate the usage of additive trustfully. Sellers need to let the consumer know. Otherwise, it is suspected of cheating consumers.

Low price on the internet, put question mark on the quality

In March, the spring tea is getting on the market. As previously exposed the tea exported to European has been detected with “new pollutant” Perchlorate, which has to raise the concerns again on the “excessive pesticide”. The insiders suggest that when purchasing tea, you should be alerted to the low price hot products. When choosing famous brands, you need to be careful with the pesticide residue report.

Expert says if consumers worried about the issue of pesticide residue, it should pay more attention while select tea. Even though there are many types of spring tea on the market, the key is to select the production season of the tea. In principle, new tea is better than the old tea. Especially the spring tea collected at the end of May should be the first choice. Because during the period for spring tea, there is normally no pests. Basically, there is no need for pesticide. Therefore, it will not lead to the residual of pesticide for tea.

Industry insider suggests, consumers should be alerted to the internet low price hot product. There are many popular teas sold on Taobao, but most of the selling points are focused on the advantage on low price. When a product is selling at the price lower than the expectation of consumer, market price, it put the question mark on the quality of the product. While tea is returning to the general consumers, the whole market will be more regulated.