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Artificial colour: a new threat to tea industry

By Ajit Patowary
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GUWAHATI, Sept 24 - Artificial colour used by some unscrupulous blenders, packeteers, retailers, and tea stall owners, has emerged as a threat for the tea industry of the country. According to Viren Shah, chairman of the Federation of All India Tea Traders� Associations (FAITTA), the practice of adding colour to tea is in total contravention of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.

Shah said in his statement messaged to this newspaper that unscrupulous traders and packers are resorting to this deception, as, consumers in some areas of the country want more colour in tea liquor. The FAITTA and the Tea Board of India have drawn the attention of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to the problem, urging for decisive steps to curb this menace.

Tea has intrinsic qualities as a natural product and the addition of colour can potentially compromise the goodwill and safety of consumers. FAITTA has initiated legal steps against one such trader and has urged the Tea Board to join in the FAITTA effort to rein in the unscrupulous traders, Shah said.

Tea manufacturers are also of the opinion that artificial colour has become a menace for the tea industry as a whole. This practice of adding colour to tea started few years back in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It then spread to Maharashtra, Gujarat and it is now spreading to North India at a rapid pace.

The arithmetic that works in the entire exercise of adding artificial colour to tea is such � a kilogram (kg) of normal tea can produce 400 cups of tea, whereas the same quantity of tea with artificial colour can produce 500 cups of tea or more. Significantly, to earn more profit, the unscrupulous traders are also using inferior quality tea in this whole business.

This process makes tea lose its natural taste and thus, ultimately, tea loses its consumers. It is thus ruining the tea market, said the sources in the tea industry.

North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) advisor Bidyananda Barkakoty made a request to Union Minister Rameswar Teli and all MPs from Assam to take up the issue boldly with the Union Ministries concerned. He said that this new trend of adding artificial colour and marketing the end products as �Premix,� not as tea, by taking advantage of the loopholes in the existing legal provisions and finally to hoodwink the gullible consumers to drink the brews of such products as tea, is harming the tea industry like anything. For, finally, even the committed tea consumers also get frustrated by such products and drift away from drinking tea, which affects the tea industry, Barkakoty said.

It needs mention here that the tea industry, which is providing employment to over two million people, is now passing through a difficult phase due to several factors. The development of adding artificial colour to tea has also emerged as one of the factors responsible for this sorry state of affairs of the tea industry, sources said.

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Artificial colour: a new threat to tea industry

GUWAHATI, Sept 24 - Artificial colour used by some unscrupulous blenders, packeteers, retailers, and tea stall owners, has emerged as a threat for the tea industry of the country. According to Viren Shah, chairman of the Federation of All India Tea Traders� Associations (FAITTA), the practice of adding colour to tea is in total contravention of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.

Shah said in his statement messaged to this newspaper that unscrupulous traders and packers are resorting to this deception, as, consumers in some areas of the country want more colour in tea liquor. The FAITTA and the Tea Board of India have drawn the attention of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to the problem, urging for decisive steps to curb this menace.

Tea has intrinsic qualities as a natural product and the addition of colour can potentially compromise the goodwill and safety of consumers. FAITTA has initiated legal steps against one such trader and has urged the Tea Board to join in the FAITTA effort to rein in the unscrupulous traders, Shah said.

Tea manufacturers are also of the opinion that artificial colour has become a menace for the tea industry as a whole. This practice of adding colour to tea started few years back in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It then spread to Maharashtra, Gujarat and it is now spreading to North India at a rapid pace.

The arithmetic that works in the entire exercise of adding artificial colour to tea is such � a kilogram (kg) of normal tea can produce 400 cups of tea, whereas the same quantity of tea with artificial colour can produce 500 cups of tea or more. Significantly, to earn more profit, the unscrupulous traders are also using inferior quality tea in this whole business.

This process makes tea lose its natural taste and thus, ultimately, tea loses its consumers. It is thus ruining the tea market, said the sources in the tea industry.

North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) advisor Bidyananda Barkakoty made a request to Union Minister Rameswar Teli and all MPs from Assam to take up the issue boldly with the Union Ministries concerned. He said that this new trend of adding artificial colour and marketing the end products as �Premix,� not as tea, by taking advantage of the loopholes in the existing legal provisions and finally to hoodwink the gullible consumers to drink the brews of such products as tea, is harming the tea industry like anything. For, finally, even the committed tea consumers also get frustrated by such products and drift away from drinking tea, which affects the tea industry, Barkakoty said.

It needs mention here that the tea industry, which is providing employment to over two million people, is now passing through a difficult phase due to several factors. The development of adding artificial colour to tea has also emerged as one of the factors responsible for this sorry state of affairs of the tea industry, sources said.