GUWAHATI, Sept 21 � Good news for the Indian tea industry and its trade. Iron filing, which is a major problem for the tea industry of the country, because of its leading to iron contamination of teas, is soon going to be eliminated, thanks to the mechanical device developed by senior Tea Research Association (TRA) scientist Dr J N Kalita.
According to TRA secretary Joydeep Phukan, the machine developed by Dr Kalita eliminates iron filings online during the production of made tea. The machine was released for commercial use by the tea industry of the country at the 50th annual general meeting (AGM) of the TRA held at Kolkata on September 18. An application for patenting the machine has also been filed with the appropriate authorities, said Phukan.
Iron filing in tea has become a major issue at present with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) fixing stringent norms of maximum permissible limit of iron filings in tea at 150 milligram per kg, Phukan said.
According to a TRA publication, iron filing generally comes to tea during the manufacturing process. The CTC cutter used for manufacturing CTC tea is to be periodically sharpened and this becomes the primary source of iron filing. Moreover, normal wear and tear of the other parts of machinery used in the tea manufacturing process are also the sources of iron filings.
The conventional removal process of iron filing in the factory is a tedious one and it requires the use of a magnet and manual efforts for taking out the adhered iron particles from the magnet.
However, the machine developed by Dr Kalita can be used in any online manufacturing tea factory at any point between the dryer mouth and the sorting point.