Greenpeace finds high pesticide levels in Indian tea

Ecological approaches and relevant policy initiatives a must to save Indian pride


Geetanjali Minhas | August 13, 2014

Pesticides considered ‘highly’ and ‘moderately’ hazardous by the World Health Organisation have been found in leading national and international tea brands, says a recent Greenpeace report “Trouble Brewing”.

The report also says that these pesticides, which are not to be used on tea crops, have been found in Indian tea.

The tests were conducted on 49 branded packaged teas from eight of the top eleven companies that dominate the branded tea market in India, including Hindustan Lever Limited, Tata Global Beverages Limited, Wagh Bakri tea, Goodricke Tea, Twinings, Golden Tips, Kho Cha, Girnar and export to countries such as Russia, UK, US, UAE and Iran were tested by Greenpeace, India between June 2013 and May 2014.

Classified by WHO as ‘highly’ hazardous pesticides (Class 1b)  and ‘moderately’ hazardous (Class II), 59% of samples tested positive for a cocktail of toxic pesticides of more than ten different substances, including one sample with residues of 20 different pesticides.

Despite being not registered for use in agriculture in India and banned in 1989, DDT was found in almost 67 percent samples. It is used for control of disease carrying insects and could be present as contaminant of other pesticides.

Many samples of tea were found to contain hazardous organophospohorous pesticide called monocrotophos, neoniconitoid insecticides like imidacloprid associated with reproductive and developmental impacts in animals and affecting bees and other beneficial insects were also found.
The food and agriculture organisation has urged developing countries to phase out these pesticides after 23 children died after eating food contaminated with monocrotophos in 2013.

“Chaotic and conflicting state of regulations in India regarding authorization of pesticides makes it difficult to draw clear conclusions. 68% of 34 pesticides found in samples appear not being registered for use in tea cultivation,” say findings of report.

Neha Siagal, senior campaigner, Greenpeace India said, “Indian tea is our national pride and should not be linked to toxic chemicals with environmental and health risks. All stakeholders must come together and take steps to safeguard the reputation of our national pride.”
Greenpeace report says the tea sector is caught in pesticide treadmill and the only way out is ecological farming.

While all companies contacted by Greenpeace have responded, Unilever has announced its plans to undertake a scientific research, including pilots to create a roadmap for non-pesticide management in tea production aiming at holistic rejuvenation of ecosystem.

“Though Tata global beverages (TGBL) has released a statement, it continues to follow the conventional method of combining biological means and chemical control measures,” the study says adding that tea companies need to support adoption of ecological agriculture approaches such as non-pesticide management (NPM) for sustained growth of industry and safety of consumers. NPM is being practiced successfully across the country. It is both economically and ecologically viable.”

Read the report here



Other News

Cabinet approves national health protection mission

The union cabinet on Thursday approved the centrally sponsored national health protection mission (NHPM) having central sector component under Ayushman Bharat, anchored in the ministry of health and family welfare. Minister JP Nadda termed the NHPM as a major step towards universal health coverag

Environment min reviews measures to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR

The ministry of environment, forest and climate change held a meeting on Wednesday to review mitigation measures to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR. The review meeting was chaired by secretary CK Mishra.   The ministry strictly directed the government agencies like PWD, DDA, DM

Is deleting Facebook account a solution to the privacy issue?

Is deleting Facebook account a solution to the privacy issue?

GIS mapping of railway assets

All railways assets are to be mapped and these will be subsequently used to develop Indian Railways’ GIS portal, authorities said on Thursday. Railways have large number of assets including land assets that need to be effectively monitored, managed and maintained.  As railway oper

Aadhaar data not misused by private firms: KJ Alphons

There has been no instance which has been reported where Aadhaar data has been misused by private companies, parliament was informed. It was found that approximately 210 websites of central government, state government departments and some educational institutes were displaying the list of b

Constitution has been amended 101 times

The constitution of India has been amended 101 times so far, parliament was informed. Union minister PP Chaudhary said that there is no proposal to review the working of the constitution by a high power commission. The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution was

Current Issue

Current Issue


CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter