DIBRUGARH, Aug 21: The All Assam Bought Leaf Tea Manufacture’s Association (ABLTMA) held a press conference to address the accusations made by the Federation of All India Tea Traders’ Association (FAITTA) regarding the alleged practice of adding artificial colour to Assam tea.
Chad Gohain, president of ABLTMA, categorically stated, “We are a manufacturing unit. We don’t engage in such practices. Colouring tea is not done in our manufacturing unit. We source green tea leaves from small tea growers, and after processing, we send them for packaging.” He stated that any suggestion of colouring tea within their processes was an attempt to tarnish the reputation of Assam tea.
Gohain clarified, “While colour alteration might happen during the packaging phase, we are not aware of it. If traders choose to alter the colour, it’s not part of our process.” He distanced ABLTMA from any potential colour manipulation.
In a recent meeting organised by FAITTA on August 18, 2023, concerns were raised about the unethical practice of adding artificial colour to tea, prompting a call for the prosecution of traders involved.
Gohain emphasised, “ABLTMA strongly asserts that no reputable tea manufacturers associated with our organisation indulge in such practices. Our industry thrives on maintaining authenticity and quality. We remain committed to upholding these standards to ensure consumers receive tea products that adhere to regulatory norms.”
Gohain further urged, “We earnestly request competent authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. Appropriate action should be taken against any individuals or entities found guilty of tampering with tea products. Such actions not only erode consumer trust but also harm the integrity of the tea industry as a whole.”
Gautam Beria, secretary of ABLTMA, clarified, “Within a factory, there is no feasible way to test green tea leaves for potential pesticide residues.”
He said, “ABLTMA believes that addressing these challenges requires collaboration among industry stakeholders, government bodies, and regulatory authorities. By working collectively, we can explore avenues to rejuvenate the market, bolster demand, and secure the long-term sustainability of the tea industry.”
Beria underscored, “We also acknowledge the concerning dissemination of misleading information from prominent buyers regarding Maximum Residue Level (MRL) breaches within the industry.”
He added, “We take this opportunity to appeal to small tea growers to exercise responsible pesticide usage. ABLTMA vehemently opposes the use of banned pesticides in tea plantations. We believe that safeguarding the environment and consumer health is a shared responsibility. We urge all stakeholders to prioritise sustainable and safe farming practices to ensure the tea industry’s long-term success and integrity.”