Citizens' Issues
Test reveals lead and copper in 12 organic and three conventional tea brands

These traces are within specified limits, but low levels of exposure to a neurotoxin like lead can be hazardous; very large single or long-term intake of copper may cause liver disease

The Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS), based in Ahmedabad, has come out with a product-testing laboratory test on 12 brands of organic tea and three conventional tea brands. The findings are shocking, to say the least.

The CERS comparative product laboratory test on 12 organic tea brands has discovered the presence of heavy metalslike lead and copper-in all of them. However, these metals were present in these organic brands within the specified limits. Three conventional tea brandswhich do not claim to be 'organic'were also tested. All these three conventional tea brands contained heavy metals such as lead and copperalong with traces of pesticides.

Organic Tea

The results revealed that the highest amount of lead was found in 'Organic Tea Tulsi Green'1.4 parts per million (ppmand the lowest was in 'Indien GoldBroken' (0.1ppm). Amongst the conventional brands, 'Wagh Bakri Strong CTC' had the highest level of 1.3ppm and the lowest level was found in 'Tata Tea Premium' and 'Brooke Bond Red Label'both with 0.9ppm.

CERS found that the highest amount of copper was found in 'Assam Strong Leaves' (31.2ppm) and the lowest in 'Organic India Tulsi Ginger' (12.3ppm). Presence of copper was found to be in the range of 15ppm to 16ppm in all three conventional tea brands.

Besides heavy metals, these tea brands were also tested for the presence of pesticides like Lindane, Aldrin, Dieldrin, DDT, Endosulfan, Dicofol and Ethion.

According to the test result, all the organic tea brands were found to be free from containing any residues of the above seven pesticides.

Interestingly, the three conventional tea brandsTata Tea Premium, Brooke Bond Red Label and Wagh Bakri Strong CTCcontained pesticide residuesDDT (ranging from 0.04ppm to 0.1ppm); Dicofol (ranging from 0.1ppm to 0.3ppm) and Ethion (ranging from 0.04ppm to 0.1ppm), which are well within the specified limits.

CERS says that since all the brands it tested had detectable levels of lead and copper in them, it decided not to select a 'best buy.'

Out of the 12 organic tea brands, seven were procured from Germanythough produced in India. The remaining brands were purchased from the local market.

Since there are no analytical standards for organic tea in India, CERS followed the standards applicable to conventional tea as standards for organic tea. Organic tea samples were tested against the values set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The press note by CERS quoted Wagh Bakri's manufacturers as saying, "Lead and copper cannot be removed completely as they are present in the soil and water and are absorbed by the plant through preferential absorption. There is no difference in taste between organic and conventional tea. Consumers who are into buying other organic food products may invest in organic tea, for others, conventional tea is good enough."
Tata Tea was quoted in a press release as saying, "Environmental contamination through air and soil are responsible for lead contamination in tea plants, on which we have no control."

On the presence of pesticide in its tea sample, Tata Tea said that "though the Tea Board of India does not approve the presence of DDT, Dicofol that is structurally similar to DDT, is an approved pesticide. Dicofol could have DDT contamination. The use of Dicofol in conventional tea plantations and the long residue life of DDT could cause its presence in tea. Tata Tea raised an important point that although the PFA (Prevention of Food Adulteration) Act does not mention the limits for DDT in tea (implies it should be nil), then how does it allow up to 3.5ppm of DDT in vegetables?"

CERS recommends that the BIS should stipulate analytical standards and testing requirements for organic foods and tea and to make organic certification mandatory. The BIS should monitor the quality of pesticide formulations used in tea plantations for the presence of chemical contaminants.  CERS also wants the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to revise and bring down the maximum limits for metal contaminants in tea, especially for lead, and make the standards stricter.



Shadi Katyal

6 years ago

What is the world standard of these metals in Tea. The question is are these natural found in the tea leaves as they grow or has these metals been added as found in many exports of Turmeric,Red chilies etc.
The writer should make it clear otherwise India will loose her Tea exports

‘Urgent need for umbrella regulator for real estate sector’

Panellists at CII conclave underline a crisis of credibility and procedural hassles that are hampering progress in the realty business. Propose exploring new areas

Anurag Mathur, managing director, Cushman & Wakefield India, says the country is in urgent need of a regulator for the realty sector, as without this it would suffer and also bring much suffering for common people.

Mr Mathur was addressing the 'Real Estate & Housing Investment Conclave' organised by CII in Mumbai today. "Without an umbrella regulator, the real estate sector in India is going to face severe crisis, and also cause much suffering to the common man," he said.

"Capital inflow in this sector is being restrained, and builders have to obtain a ridiculous number of clearances for projects. The small, retail investors cannot invest in this sector because apart from buying a physical unit, there is no other way to invest. An umbrella regulator will ensure a systematic and governable way of ensuring capital inflow for the industry and make dealings more transparent," Mr Mathur said. The view was acknowledged by most of the other panellists at the programme.

Pointing to the Securities and Exchange Board of India that regulates the stock market and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority that governs the insurance sector, Mr Mathur said, "We need a similar nodal agency which will not only provide guidelines, but also make the process simpler and punish defaulters, thereby making the sector credible in the eyes of people."

Excessive and fragmented regulation, and subsequently excessive taxation has created problems both for builders and buyers, pointed out Ms Kruti Jain, director of Kumar Urban Development Ltd. "If a single-window clearance is available, it will not only save a lot of time and hassles, it will also bring down the prices," she said. "About 40%-50% of the price that the customer pays today is for the multiple taxes the builder has to pay."

Her remarks were echoed by RK Khanna, senior executive director, Housing & Urban Development Company, who also said that unless the speculator is taken out of the picture, prices cannot come down.

Sachin Khandelwal, managing director and chief executive officer, ICICI Home Finance Ltd, said without a long-term vision, the sector could not prosper. "We have laws and regulations that vary according to the region, and a new law is enforced every time a bureaucrat or a minister catches a whim. If we have uniform, permanent laws, that will be most welcome."

The panellists were unanimous about the need for transparency in the sector. They felt that with all the major scams having a real estate company involved, the sector was looked at suspiciously and that a regulator may restore its credibility.

Ms Jain also pointed out that builders and financers should move out of the Mumbai and national capital regions. "If we see the way the smaller towns and cities are growing, it is clear that rates there are reasonable. If there is a regulator with a pan-India reach, these small developers can be included in the process, and customers who are left at the mercy of local contractors can also live in peace."




6 years ago

Pls let me know of weekend projects in Lonavala & Karjat. Also new projects in Kharghar area for Residence


6 years ago

Real estate area is the most disorganized in terms of its registration, funding and tax evasion. When proper rules and regulations are being enforced through PAN Cards, all registratrations can at least be monitored which will give benefits of preventing:
a) money laundering
b) black money inflow/outflow
c) control in price mechanism

K Desai

6 years ago

Transperancy is a must but customer in hurry do buy over looking important aspects of purchase of house relying on words of builder and suffer at later date.

The builder do not allow to go through wordings of agreement to be registered. The registrar gives the registered agreement to the builder who try to take undue advantage. The customer is sanddwitched / made helpless. The document must be given to purchaser.

The agreement do have metion of date of giving possession but remains blank to the advantage of builder. Registrar should not allow any item left blank in the agreement if a customer is to be protected.

What an action a customer can take agaisnt builder if the registered document is detained illegally?

Can a customer complain to Registrar for no mention of date of giving possession if project is indefinitely delayed and fail to get answer from the builder?

Phaneesh Murthy appointed CEO of Patni

Both iGATE and Patni would continue to exist as separate listed entities and would work together on an integration exercise with the advice of professional consultants and advisors, iGATE said in a statement

Bangalore: iGATE today announced the successful completion of the Patni acquisition and appointment of Phaneesh Murthy as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Patni Computer Systems. Consequently, Jeya Kumar has stepped down as the CEO of Patni, reports PTI.

iGATE had entered into purchase agreements on 10th January this year to acquire a majority stake in Patni Computers. The transaction marks the completion with the buyout of the principal stockholders, Narendra Patni, Ashok Patni, Gajendra Patni and General Atlantic, and 20% Mandatory Tender Offer (MTO) to the public shareholders.

The MTO was fully subscribed giving iGATE a majority stake of approximately 83% in Patni Computer Systems.

Both iGATE and Patni would continue to exist as separate listed entities and would work together on an integration exercise with the advice of professional consultants and advisors, iGATE said in a statement here today.

"The two companies will operate on an independent basis and in the best interests of their respective stakeholders with a view to building value for both sets of shareholders," it said.

As a consequence of the acquisition, the board at Patni has been reconstituted. Jai Pathak will be board chairman, Phaneesh Murthy the CEO. Shashank Singh, co-head of Apax India and G'ran Lindahl, member of iGATE board are the new directors with existing members Vimal Bhandari and Arun Duggal continuing as independent directors.

Surjeet Singh, CFO, Patni, would continue in office until 31 May 2011 and then step down when the board expects to appoint a new financial officer.

Announcing the acquisition, Phaneesh Murthy said, "Successful completion of the transaction was our single focus over the last four months and I am very excited to formally move from integration planning to integration execution between the two companies."

"Our intent is to generate synergies out of the integration and, with iGATE's differentiated iTOPS-based Business Outcomes model coupled with Patni's micro-vertical focus, deliver value to our customers," he added.

"We believe there are a number of cross selling opportunities across 360 clients of iGATE and Patni and will focus on improving service levels and deepening our engagement with existing clients.

The initial feedback from customers has been very encouraging. In the next three years, our goal is to become leader by capability in two verticals and a significant player in at least three to four other verticals," Mr Murthy said.

According to the new CEO, the company would significantly expand its market presence and, pursuant to its integration programme, go to the marketplace with a common identity called iGATE Patni.

"Under a new logo, iGATE Patni will stand for the combined value of both organisations," he said.


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