CEO, FSSAI, in discussion with tea growers and planters to ensure quality

In a significant move towards ensuring the safety and quality of tea production, Mr. G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), addressed a gathering of tea growers and tea planters during an interactive session held recently in Kellyden, Assam.

The focal point of the discussion was enhancing traceability and testing measures for raw materials, emphasising the need for screening of every batch for pesticide residues and

adherence to Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) of pesticides usage as prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations of 2011 (FSSR). He emphasised the importance of adopting bio-pesticides and encouraged collaboration with the Tea Board for joint inspection, sampling and testing processes. During the session, the Tea Board stressed on the significance of awareness campaigns among planters to educate them about the maintenance of a harvesting gap to ensure safe agricultural practices.

Planters raised concerns about the use of unauthorised pesticides in tea cultivation and urged the State Government to impose a ban on such substances. Scientific Panel members engaged in detailed deliberations on specific pesticides, monitoring procedures and the prevention of off-label use.

Notably, FSSAI is extending financial assistance to Assam for the upgrading of laboratories dedicated to pesticide testing. The need for regular interaction with all stakeholders and the formulation of a time-bound action plan to guarantee the availability of safe tea to consumers was also stressed upon during the meeting.