Pesticide Residue in Tea? An Old Study.

Pesticide Residue in Tea? An Old Study.

On April 24, 2012, BEIJING (Reuters) published an article which contained some troubling facts.

Greenpeace says finds tainted Lipton tea bags in China

Greenpeace said in a statement that in March it randomly purchased  several boxes of Lipton tea bags sold in two Beijing stores and sent  them to an independent laboratory for pesticide residue testing.
“The  testing found that all four Lipton samples contained pesticides that  exceeded the EU’s maximum levels of residue, while three samples  contained pesticides unapproved by the EU,” the group said.
“Some of the detected pesticides are also banned for use in tea production by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.”
“As a responsible multinational company, Unilever China has all along  upheld high quality and the protection of consumers’ rights. All the  Lipton tea products we make are completely in line with national  standards on pesticide residue, and are safe and up-to-standard goods,”  the company wrote.

Unilever has done a lot to demonstrate a strong commitment to supply chain integrity since 2012.

But, the concerns raised by Greenpeace, whatever the focus of Reuters, was bigger than just the biggest multinational tea company.

Two weeks earlier, an article on - Pesticide pollution: Chinese tea may not be safe to drink - raised the red flag on the largest tea market in the world.

A few months ago we bought 18 tea products at random from nine tea companies in China, and after sending the samples to be tested discovered that a whopping 12 of the 18 samples contained at least one pesticide banned for use on tea. Pesticides like methomyl and endosulfan, the latter of which has been banned globally under the Stockholm Convention due to its toxic properties.
All 18 samples contained at least three pesticides. One sample –  Richun’s Tieguanyin 803 tea – even showed up with 17 different kinds of  pesticides! A total of 14 samples were found to have the kind of  pesticides that may affect fertility, harm an unborn child or cause  heritable genetic damage.

I have written a more in depth summary of the Study referenced in these articles, and the follow up in 2014 by Greenpeace India.

Here in the United States food is protected by the FDA.
How safe are our teas?

See what the FDA has to say!

They did a focused study on the teas imported into the USA!

-> Tea is as safe or safer than any other food product in the USA.
-> But, We Can Do Better!