As I post this, I'm drinking a big pot of green tea. My cupboard is full of a dozens tins of cheap Chinese tea. Aagh! Tea was supposed to be good for me.

Tea Time Might Be Over, Once World Wakes Up to Amount of Pesticides...

... a new study released by Greenpeace earlier this month that found a number of popular tea brands contain high doses of pesticide residues. Some teas even tested positive for the long-banned DDT.

Greenpeace published two reports looking at tea in China and in India. In both accounts, the levels of pesticide residues found in tea samples were disturbingly above the safe limits set by the World Health Organization.

In 49 Indian tea samples tested, nearly 60 percent contained at least one pesticide above the safety limits set by the European Union. In 18 samples, the quantity of pesticides were “50 percent more than the maximum level.” A whopping 33 samples contained DDT. In the report on China’s teas, nearly 67 percent of samples (18 total) contained pesticides that have been previously banned under the Stockholm Convention. “Richun's Tieguanyin 803 tea [from China] showed up with 17 different kinds of pesticides!” reported Greenpeace.  In total, 14 samples from China contained pesticides that are known to harm unborn children or cause genetic damage.

Brands tested were from 8 of the 11 top tea brands such as Twinings, Tata Tea, Tetley, Brooke Bond, Golden Tips, Goodricke and... Lipton. In Greenpeace’s studies, three of four Lipton samples, “contained pesticides that are banned for use on tea plants and are highly toxic. Altogether 17 different kinds of pesticides were found on the four samples.”

Pesticides found included methomyl, an insecticide known for harming the nervous system; dicofol, a chemical related to DDT; and endosulfan among many others.

I've found only three sources of US tea. It'll cost more, but I plan to switch.

Tags: pesticides in tea

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Replies to This Discussion

Well this is disappointing, if not so surprising. I too enjoy a bracing cuppa Earl Gray now and then, and a nice relaxing herbal in the evening. Thanks for posting this, Ruth, and kudos to Greenpeace for getting it out. Unfortunately, poisoning people for profit will most likely prevail, since ultimately the most popular god of all is money.

Greenpeace didn't test herbal teas. I assume organic herbal teas are pesticide free.

After reading that article, I threw out the second half of my pot of green tea, and brewed some Yerba Mate. On the other hand, Africa isn't known for its high pesticide in food standards.

I'll look for an organic herbal with stimulant properties, till I can get some domestic tea.

The few US teas are astonishingly costly. Arbor in Hawaii, for example sells 2 oz of green tea for $56.50. I've been buying a kilo of Temple of Heaven gunpowder green tea for $6.99.

Thought I'd try organic.I ordered a pound of organic Gunpower green tea from Numi for $24.31. But now I wonder how trustworthy the organic certification is. Likely this is sourced in China too.

My grocery store didn't have any herbal tea with a natural stimulant. Tomorrow morning I'll try drinking Camomile tea and take a caffeine pill. <grumble, grumble>

Only tangentially on topic, but you really have to watch out for any pet food made in China too. I have a wonderful 14-year-old named Tilly. Several months back she started guzzling water for long periods of time, and I thought uh-oh, probably the beginning of kidney failure. Fortunately I have a brilliant vet, and when he did blood tests he said that there was an issue with her kidneys, but he didn't think it was just old age. He asked if I'd been buying any dog food made in China. I had been getting these chicken jerky things at Costco that were made in China. I stopped giving them to the dogs and she went back to normal shortly thereafter. I took the food back to Costco for a refund, but to this day they still have it on their shelves.

Talking of China products... I gave a cats a fur toy, but they responded with fear. And they were right too, I found out that the toy was made of cat's fur.

I just had lunch with my friend Bill Qiu, from China. He confirmed that organic certification of Chinese tea shouldn't be trusted.

Unfortunately I think that's generally true of most any claims for organic produce.

Hopefully organic produce in the US is more trustworthy -- anyone know more, one way or another?

And how safe would tea from Japan be?

I"m no expert on the subject, but a nephew in the US who's worked as a chef and organic farmer says that being labeled "organic" doesn't by any stretch of the imagination mean that no pesticides have been used. (It might mean they're applied at night though.)

The Chinese government doesn't allow foreigners to inspect Chinese farms. Foreign organic certifiers rely on Chinese subcontractors, who have an interest in keeping production numbers high and making everything appear OK.

http://www.alternet.org/story/94146/is_your_organic_food_really_org...

Thanks for posting Ruth! Time to switch to tap water!

I drink a lot of iced tea, hot not so much. Perhaps I should reconsider my drink of choice. Thanks, Ruth.

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