GUWAHATI: The tea planters’ organisations from Assam, on Tuesday (August 22), rubbished allegations of adding of artificial colors in packaged tea products, as raised by the Federation of All India Tea Traders Association (FAITTA).
The tea planters’ body from Assam said that the tea industry ensures the highest professional and regulatory standards to uphold the quality of Indian tea.
The FAITTA, the apex body of the tea trade in India, has voiced deep concern over the growing incidence of adding artificial color in tea, saying that responsible sections of the trade and brands are being adversely impacted by such malpractice.
FAITTA, in a recent meeting with FSSAI, has provided evidence drawn from the market of tea packets openly declaring added color in the content in some parts of the country.
Reacting to the statement, Tea Association of India (TAI) president Ajay Jalan clarified that the tea producers associated with TAI uphold the highest standards of authenticity, quality, and ethical practices.
“Our members are committed to producing tea adhering to all regulatory requirements and industry norms. As part of the stringent evaluation process, tea samples from producers are thoroughly assessed by buyers before any purchasing decisions are made.
Therefore, if any producers were engaged in the practice of mixing artificial colors, this would be promptly recognized during the evaluation process, and appropriate measures would be taken by the buyers,” Jalan said In a statement here on Tuesday.
Jalan said: “We believe that FAITTA’s statement may have been misconstrued. They were possibly suggesting that there are unscrupulous traders or retail sellers who might resort to such practices. They were possibly not suggesting that these unethical practices represent the broader tea-producing community.
We firmly believe that this issue, while important, should not overshadow the tireless efforts of ethical producers who are committed to delivering high-quality and authentic tea products.”
Expressing concern on the issues, Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association secretary Dinesh Bihani said: “We are very much concerned on the news about the colouring of the teas in Assam tea industry. The GTAC feels that the issue was not presented truthfully in the media. As far as GTAC has not received any complaint in the last 50 years on the coloring of the teas.”
“Yes there are some issues on MRL and these are taken by Fssai and Tea Board. We are very much upset on this news where the prestige of the Assam Tea Industry has been tainted,” BIhani said.
“Some manufacturers are doing this type of business but for this the entire tea industry should not be blamed,” he said.
“In fact, GTAC has recently collaborated with Tea Research Association (TRA Tocklai) for sample analysis with discounted rates so anyone can send their samples to GTAC and they will give analysis reports in a shorter time,” Bihani said.
“We feel that Assam tea is one of the best tea in the world and teas sold through the auction system are always guaranteed as per FSSAI rules,” BIhani added.
Reusing the allegation, Assam Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturers’ Association (ABLTMA) president Chand Kumar Gohain said: “We are of the firm belief that no manufacturer associated with us indulges in such unethical practice. This is a serious allegation and we urge the authorities to investigate it.”
He added that the tea products from our members adhere to all regulatory requirements.
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