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Bhutan to test Indian tea for pesticides

Posted on Aug 16 2014 | IANS

Thimphu, Aug 16 : The Bhutan Agriculture and Regulatory Food Authority (BAFRA) will next week conduct tests on various varieties of tea originating from India after a Greenpeace report claimed to have found pesticides in the beverage, a Bhutan daily reported Saturday.

BAFRA's quality control section chief Kinley Pelden said for consumer safety and consumer confidence, the agency would conduct tests of the tea products available in the market, Kuensel reported.

The tests would be carried out immediately for the assurance of Bhutanese consumers, she was quoted as saying by the daily.

Greenpeace India, a non-government organisation that deals with environmental issues, said earlier this month that their tests have found residues of pesticides in a majority of samples of many brands of packaged tea produced and consumed in India. Many of these brands are also consumed in Bhutan, .

The Greenpeace report also claimed that 68 percent of the 34 pesticides found are not approved for use in tea cultivation. Some of the non-approved pesticides it claimed to have found include monocrotophos, triazophos, tebufenpyrad, DDT and neonicotinoid insecticides.

Refuting the study, the Tea Board of India said it reviewed the findings of the Greenpeace study and confirmed that all the samples tested complied with Indian laws and regulations, designed to protect consumers.

The tea board also said the industry has been constantly taking steps to make tea cultivation even more sustainable and reduce reliance on synthetic plant protection products.

BAFRA has a national food testing laboratory in Yusipang that carries out routine testing of food samples, according to the agency's website.

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