FSSAI stresses on adoption of bio-pesticides in tea production

FSSAI is extending financial assistance to Assam for the upgrading of laboratories dedicated to pesticide testing

In a significant move towards ensuring the safety and quality of tea production, G Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), addressed a gathering of Tea Growers and Tea Planters during an interactive session in Kellyden, Assam. The event saw active participation from key stakeholders including officials from FSSAI, the Tea Board, the Tea Research Institute, tea planters, tea processors, industry associations and the Food and Drug Department of the State.

The focal point of the discussion was enhancing traceability and testing measures for raw materials, emphasising the need for screening every batch for pesticide residues and adherence to Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) of pesticide usage as prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations of 2011 (FSSR). Rao emphasised the importance of adopting bio-pesticides and encouraged collaboration with the Tea Board for joint inspection, sampling and testing processes.

During the session, the Tea Board stressed the significance of awareness campaigns among planters to educate them about the maintenance of a harvesting gap to ensure safe agricultural practices. Planters raised concerns about the use of unauthorised pesticides in tea cultivation and urged the State Government to impose a ban on such substances. Processors advocated for the provision of rapid testing kits at the farm gate level to streamline pesticide testing. Scientific Panel members engaged in detailed deliberations on specific pesticides, monitoring procedures and the prevention of off-label use.

Notably, FSSAI is extending financial assistance to Assam for the upgrading of laboratories dedicated to pesticide testing. The need for regular interaction with all stakeholders and the formulation of a time-bound action plan to guarantee the availability of safe tea to consumers was also stressed during the meeting.

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