Tea, one of the most popular and preferred drink of the country, has become a great matter of concern for the officials due to recent hike in tea adulteration. Despite of continuous and repeated raids by the official of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the adulteration rate has not come down. Now FSSAI has decided to pulverize this health menacing activity by lifting tea dust decoction samples from tea stalls to check for adulterants.
Earlier, FSSAI officials used to lift tea dust from provision shops, bakeries and tea stalls to examine use of adulterants. Most of these samples checked in lab were found adulterated with artificial colours. To tighten up the screws, FSSAI has chalked down a new testing procedure which can tackle this issue.
Elaborating on the subject, Dr. O.LS. Vijay, Designated Officer, FSSAI, Coimbatore stated, “While lifting adulterated tea dust from tea shops, the shop owners used to blame the trader. The trader at provision shops would point the finger at wholesale dealers. Based on a direction from headquarters, FSSAI is currently lifting samples of decoction from tea shops. If the samples are found adulterated in the laboratory examination, action will be taken against the tea shop owners.”
Samples will also be lifted from Aavin milk booths where tea is sold and the samples lifted from some of the shops are currently being examined in a Government laboratory, Dr. Vijay added. On Monday, FSSAI closed down a tea shop in Gandhipuram for repeated use of low quality adulterated tea dust. Officials said that all shops selling tea in Gandhipuram were taught to detect adulterated tea dust through a simple method.
“Tea dust mixed with colourants, when added to a glass of normal water, will release colour instantly. Whereas, pure tea dust will release colour only in warm water. We had demonstrated this experiment in all shops. As adulterated tea dust is cheap, they compromise on its ill-effects,” said K. Chandran, food safety officer for Gandhipuram area.